Media and entertainment: transactional in United States

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP provides a full service in the media transactions space, housing teams with experience in both high-level M&A, general financing, and corporate work, along with a strong track record in industry-specific co-production and film finance agreements. New York-based John Gaffney is a key figure within the team and focuses on M&A transactions, capital markets, and corporate governance work, while fellow New Yorker Richard Birns has a practice which spans the M&A and rights agreement spaces. On the west coast, Kevin Masuda  has a strong following among both media and investment clients, advising on distribution agreements, corporate transactions, strategic investments and partnerships, and recently represented investors, including Jimmy Iovine and Main Street Advisors, in their investment in and strategic partnership with 88rising, a music entertainment and mass media company that primarily focuses on Asian American and Asian artists. Benyamin Ross, who also practices from the LA office, is highly active in the media space, with a client list including high-profile studios, media startups, and large financiers.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Masuda

Other key lawyers:

Benyamin Ross; Ari Lanin

Key clients

RedBird Capital Partners

ZhongZhi Enterprises Group

Ruton Capital, an affiliate of ZhongZhi Enterprises Group

Fender Musical Instruments

Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor Sales, Toyota Motors North America

Guggenheim Securities

The Stars Group

Publicis Groupe

Time Inc.

TPG Growth

Lincoln Center

Klutch Sports Group, LLC

NTWRK

DirecTV, LLC

Universal Pictures

WndrCo / Quibi

WndrCo, LLC

Hackman Capital Partners, LLC

Talento Uno Music, LLC

Jimmy Iovine / Main Street Advisors

Oak View Group, LLC

Work highlights

  • Dunn represented the NTWRK, an e-commerce platform that offers shoppable shows featuring the biggest names in pop culture, in its formation and capital raise from Live Nation, Footlocker, Warner Bros, Jimmy Iovine, Drake, and others.
  • Representing DirecTV, a direct broadcast satellite service provider, in connection with the renewal of various content programming agreements with major content providers, including CBS Corporation and The Walt Disney Company.
  • Represents Universal Pictures in a number of joint venture and production film financing arrangements, including advising Universal in connection with the expiration of its five-year production and co-financing arrangement with Legendary Entertainment in December 2018.
  • Advised privately-held real estate investment and operating company Hackman Capital Partners in the acquisition of the CBS Television City property and sound-stage operations in Los Angeles, California from the CBS Corporation.
  • Represented Talento Uno Music, a music and entertainment company that primarily focuses on Latin music, in connection with its sale to the newly formed Saban Music Group.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP combines a strong track record in sector-specific transactions, such as film financing, co-production deals, talent deals, and IP licensing, with corporate and finance practices which receive frequent instructions in the media sector, including a notable uptick in joint venture work recently. On the corporate side, in March 2019 the team saw the arrival of Justin Hamill, who joined from the New York office of Paul Weiss and focuses primarily on large-scale M&A deals. Unsurprisingly, the primary nexus of the firm's media and entertainment practice remains its LA operation, which houses a strong partner-level contingent including practice head Joseph Calabrese, whose client roster includes several high-profile film studios and distributors. Financing specialist Nancy Bruington is another key figure within the team and acts for studios, networks, and production companies, as well as handling lender-side work for both commercial and investment banks.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Calabrese

Other key lawyers:

Justin Hamill; Nancy Bruington; Ken Deutsch; Robert Haymer; Jonathan West; Rick Offsay

Testimonials

Joe Calabrese, Nancy Bruington, Robert Haymer and Ken Deutsch are the partners that I work with most frequently. They are each exceptional.

Key clients

2.0 Entertainment, LLC

A24 Films

Anonymous Content

Blumhouse Productions

Brothers International, LLC

Content Partners

Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc.

Entertainment Studios

Facebook

Ithaca Holdings

Miramax

MGM

New Republic Pictures

Parkwood Entertainment

Roddenberry Entertainment

Skydance Media

Sonar Entertainment

Univision Communications Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Warner Bros. in negotiating and drafting the terms of a deal with Greg Berlanti in connection with extending its exclusive services arrangement in television with Berlanti through 2024.
  • Advised Univision in its carveout sale of assets comprising the Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion online platforms to Great Hill Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm.
  • Represented Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios as M&A and finance counsel in its acquisition of certain television stations from subsidiaries of Bayou City Broadcasting, LLC.
  • Represents A24 in connection with all of its corporate-level and production-specific finance matters, including negotiating amendments to its 1st lien facility and standalone production facility to finance future A24 film and television projects.
  • Advised Ithaca Holdings on their acquisition of Big Machine Label Group, an independent music group that included record labels and a publishing company.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

O'Melveny & Myers LLP houses a strong film and television financing practice with a solid track record in co-financing and co-production deals, as well as distribution deals, licensing of existing IPs for filmed adaptations, and rights acquisitions. Practice co-chairs Matthew Erramouspe and Bruce Tobey, both of whom operate out of the LA office, are highly experienced in such deals, with Erramouspe of particular note due to his work with the growing contingent of Chinese investors seeking to operate in the US market. The firm is also active in media sector M&A and corporate work, with Tobey recently handling CBS' acquisition of a stake in PatMa, a multiplatform independent production company aimed at amplifying diverse voices. Other notable figures on the more corporate side of the firm's practice include Sean Monroe, whose recent work has included equity raising, investment and strategic partnerships, and spin-outs, and Silvia Vannini, whose practice covers both corporate and IP transactions.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Erramouspe; Bruce Tobey

Other key lawyers:

Sean Monroe; Silvia Vannini; Amy Siegel;

Testimonials

All attorneys working on our matters, from newest associate to senior partners, are excellent. They take the time to listen to what I‘m looking for and tailor the work to our needs. They also have taken the time to understand our business and the political/bureaucratic dynamics as well as the legal ones.

Very professional, personable, knowledgeable, and responsible.

Committed and dedicated to the assignment at hand.

Key clients

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

BRON Studios, BRON Creative and BRON Ventures

CBS Corporation

Endeavor

Envy Gaming

Legendary Entertainment

Paramount Pictures

Starz

Square Enix

Univision Communications

Work highlights

  • Represented BRON Studios in a US$100 million multi-picture co-financing deal with MGM.
  • Represents Chinese production and distribution company Bona Film Group in connection with Bona’s motion picture co-financing efforts.
  • Represented Univision in its cross-border strategic alliance with Grupo Televisa to launch “TUDN” as a new multi-platform sports media brand and leading cable sports network.
  • Assisted BRON Studios with the launch of BRON Ventures, a new division of BRON Studios that will make strategic equity investments in content-driven production companies and leaders in the film, TV, digital, and animation spaces.
  • Represented BRON Studios in its arrangement with Warner Bros. to co-produce, co-finance, and distribute “Those Who Wish Me Dead.”

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP houses a team which is highly specialized in the financing of motion picture and television productions, with a strong track record in lender-side work, representing investment banks, funds, and commercial banks. Additionally, the firm is highly experienced in cross-border financing and advises several high-profile clients across Asia and the Middle East on their investments into the US entertainment space. LA-based Christopher Spicer chairs the practice, and recently advised Comerica Bank in connection with a $100m credit facility provided to Bron Studios, in addition to a $17m senior secured loan for the film Bombshell. Veteran practitioner John Burke remains a notable face within the media team due to his strong track record across the spectrum of lender and investor work, while Marissa Román Griffith and Alissa Miller have both seen recent instructions relating to bankruptcies in the media sector.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Spicer

Key clients

Allegory Films

American Film Institute

Bank of America, N.A.

China Media Corporation

CIT Bank

City National Bank

Comerica Bank

Content Partners

East West Bank

Hudson Private

Ingenious Investments Ltd.

JPMorgan Chase Securities

Media Content Capital

Media Guarantors Insurance Solutions

Media Rights Capital

MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Narrative Capital Partners

Portfolio Funding Company

RatPac Dune Entertainment

SunTrust Bank

XYZ Films

Work highlights

  • Represented XYZ Films in the structuring of the equity and international co-production structure for the film Stowaway.
  • Representing East West Bank in an ongoing series of financings for joint ventures, television productions and motion pictures.
  • Representing SunTrust Bank as administrative agent and lender under a multi-million dollar prepetition senior secured credit facility provided to film distributor Our Alchemy.
  • Akin Gump is representing Media Rights Capital and its affiliates in connection with MRC’s financing activities in film and TV.
  • Representing Portfolio Funding Company LLC I, which is owned by Assured Guaranty and AMC Networks, in managing the administration of a film library of 191 titles acquired from The Weinstein Company (TWC) in connection with the restructuring of the former TWC/Goldman Sachs’ credit facility.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

As part of its leading corporate practice, New York firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is involved in several big-ticket M&A matters for media and entertainment clients, including transactions which have fundamentally changed the shape of the current media landscape in the US. Most notably, the firm acted for Disney in its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox for $85bn, which had been subject to an interloper bid by Comcast. Additionally, the firm was again instructed by Disney to handle the related divestments of former Fox assets, such as the $10.6bn sale of Fox college Sports and 21 regional sports networks to Sinclair Broadcast Group, and the $3.4bn sale of its equity interest in the YES Network to an investment group including Sinclair and the New York Yankees. Presiding partner Faiza Saeed chairs the practice and is a key figure in the firm's work for Disney, along with George Schoen and Allison Wein.

Practice head(s):

Faiza Saeed

Other key lawyers:

Ting Chen

Key clients

The Walt Disney Company

Viacom

WarnerMedia

Hasbro

New Media

Naspers

Technicolor

Scientific Games

Graham Holdings

Rogers Communications

Work highlights

  • Represented Scientific Games, the parent company of SciPlay, in the $363.5 million carve‑out initial public offering of SciPlay.
  • Representing Viacom’s board committee in its $30 billion merger with CBS.
  • Representing Hasbro in its $4bn acquisition of Entertainment One.
  • Represented New Media Investment Group Inc. in its $1.4 billion acquisition of Gannett Co.
  • Represents The Weinstein Company in connection with its closely watched Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC has a wide-ranging, bicoastal entertainment transactions practice, with notable clients on both the talent and corporate side of the market across the television and film sector. New York based co-chair Richard Heller focuses primarily on acting for rights holders, including corporate entities and individual writers, in licensing their properties for adaptation or development into film, TV, or theatre productions, while fellow practice leader Michael Williams is more active on the performer side, negotiating deals for appearances in film and TV productions, as well as branding and image licensing deals. The firm also has a notable presence in the interactive entertainment space, including video games, social media, and virtual reality, with Sean Kane standing out for his expertise in these areas. Recently, Kane was instructed by Epic Games in relation to a series of licensing and image rights transactions to allow Epic to depict several well-known individuals, both real and fictional, in its popular video game Fortnite. Counsel Julie Murray, whose recent work includes advising production companies on co-production and financing agreements for their projects, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Richard Heller; Michael Williams

Other key lawyers:

Sean Kane; Julie Murray; Andrew Hurwitz; Victoria Cook; Amy Nickin

Testimonials

Julie Murray works tirelessly in service of her clients.

Key clients

Aaron Sorkin

Dean Koontz

The Roald Dahl Literary Estate

John Goodman

Hasbro, Inc.

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.

Epic Games

Topic Studios

First Look Productions

3311 Productions

Work highlights

  • Represented best-selling author Dean Koontz through negotiations for a five-book deal with Amazon.
  • Negotiated and structured Aaron Sorkin’s deal for his adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird for Broadway.
  • Advised The Roald Dahl Story Company Limited in its deal with Netflix, which provides Netflix with animated series rights for a wide variety of Dahl properties.
  • Represented Dreamscape Immersive in a license agreement with Sony for the creation of an immersive Virtual Reality Experience connected to the release of the latest installment in the Men In Black franchise.
  • Represented Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chinn, in connection with the Academy Award and Emmy-winning documentary Free Solo as well as in connection with their overall deal with National Geographic.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP houses an entertainment team with a wide range of experience, though it is perhaps best known for its strong track record in the music industry, with a client list including several well-known songwriters and performers, along with multiple reputable labels and publishers. Recent work in the music space has included joint venture and partnership agreements, touring agreements, catalogue purchases and management, and branding deals. The firm remains highly active in film and television work, with a strong following among Chinese clients, who it advises on financing transactions, talent deals, and IP purchases. It recently handled Spring Era Films' engagement of Renny Harlin to direct its next picture, which was the first time Spring Era engaged non-Chinese talent. Leadership within the practice is split between Lindsay Conner and Jordan Bromley, both of whom sit in the LA office, with the former focusing primarily on the film and television space, while the latter specialises in music-related work. In 2019, the practice saw the departure of Alan Brunswick, who had focused on employment issues in the media sector, to Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP, while music specialist Monika Tashman arrived from Fox Rothschild LLP.

Practice head(s):

Lindsay Conner; Jordan Bromley

Other key lawyers:

Gary Gilbert; Lee Phillips; Jeff Biederman; Neil Sacker; Monika Tashman

Testimonials

Manatt was exceptional to work with. We were highly confident in their team and certainly thrilled with the results and quality of work. Hands down, Manatt is our first stop for all of our legal needs.

We worked closely with Nioura Ghazni and Monika Tashman. Their professionalism with our matter was unparalleled and it often felt like we were working with a core team member, rather than just “outside counsel.” We would recommend both Nioura and Monika to anyone within our network for assistance first and foremost, without question!

Exceptionally professional, responsive, quick and friendly. Great team to work with.

Lindsay Conner and his team are exceptional. We had been working with Lindsay for over two years already and could not be more happy with legal advisor and consultant. Not only he is a great professional, he has unique personal qualities which create friendly, collaborative environment which is very helpful for the business.

The music department has a deep background in elements of the music business including but not limited to royalties, record company contracts, publishing, copyright ownership and all related litigations. It represents its clients in a timely matter, and has a strong reputation.

 

Key clients

B.B. King Music Company, LLC

Brian Wilson

Burt Bacharach

Dierks Bentley

Diplo

Dixie Chicks

Estate of Jerry Leiber

ITV Studios America

Kenny Loggins

Kobalt Music Group

Majordomo Media, LLC

Miles Davis Properties, LLC

New Republic Pictures

PassionFlix, Inc.

Paul Anka

Perfect World Pictures

Randy Jackson

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Spring Era Films Co.

Styx

The Tornante Company

Toby and Molly Music LLC

Tracy Chapman

Work highlights

  • Represents ITV Studios America in joint venture agreements for the development and production of TV programs.
  • Represented Kobalt Music Group, an independent rights management and publishing company, in negotiating a long-term global partnership with Daniel Glass’ Glassnote Records.
  • Negotiated a substantial financial/option agreement on behalf of Paul Anka for a portion of his large, multimillion dollar music catalogue with Primary Wave Music Publishing.
  • Representing Miles Davis Properties, LLC, in various branding and licensing deals for a branded turntable, clothing, pens and more, and in the formation of a non-profit foundation to promote jazz and music education in underserved communities.
  • Represents Brian Wilson in a live stage rights option/purchase agreement for the stage production of Love & Mercy.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is highly active in the digital content and OTT distribution space and often advises Amazon and subsidiaries in content deals, as well as representing several notable production companies and studios in their dealings with other streaming service providers. The practice is jointly led from Century City by Robb Klein and Linda Michaelson, both of whom have significant practices in the film and television space, with Michaelson focusing more on strategic corporate transactions, while Klein is active in the field of day-to-day financing, distribution, licensing, and production deals. Also based in Century City is Sidney Fohrman, who leads the firm's music and esports industry teams and acts on the full range of mandates in both sectors. The firm has a particularly strong relationship with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, who instruct New York-based Daniel Schnapp in relation to various licensing matters. Robert Darwell is another key figure within the practice, and is particularly strong in the new media space, handling work for several clients including Amazon, as well as having significant experience in the areas of fashion and art law.

Practice head(s):

Robb Klein; Linda Michaelson; David Sands

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Schnapp; Robert Darwell; Leif Cervantes de Reinstein

Testimonials

Robert Darwell stands out not only as an expert in entertainment law, but also because of the knowledge of the commercial aspects involved and of who is who in the industry. He is an excellent negotiator, respected by his clients and counterparties. He understands the needs of the client.

Sheppard Mullin are very experienced, with knowledge of both legal and commercial aspects, and are available around the clock.

Key clients

Amazon Studios

Walt Disney Company

Spotify

Turner Entertainment Group

Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.

Fremantle

ICM Partners

Mastercard

Showtime Network

Nickelodeon

Fashion Nova

Twitch

Universal’s Focus Features

Cavalry Media

Creative Wealth

101 Studios

Komixx Entertainment

Facebook/Oculus

Technicolor

Abrams Artists Agency

Peloton Interactive Inc.

Warner Music Group

Saban Music Group

Spirit Music Group

Emerson Collective

Work highlights

  • Represented Amazon Alternative in the expansion of its behind-the-scenes documentary series, “All or Nothing”, into Brazil and Mexico.
  • Represented Lionsgate Entertainment, Inc in connection with a joint venture with Point Grey Pictures (the production company owned by Seth Rogan, James Weaver and Evan Goldberg) for a multiplatform content deal.
  • Handled the equity financing for 101 Studios, a new independent studio, plus all business and general counsel affairs for corporate and output deals, film and TV development, production and distribution arrangements and executive employment arrangements.
  • Counsel to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in connection with the drafting and negotiation of a collaboration agreement with MPL Music Publishing (Paul McCartney) for the development, implementation and sponsorship of a scholarship promotion/competition.
  • Counsel to Sony Pictures in connection with the formation of the joint venture dubbed “Crackle Plus” with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, the owner and operator of various video on demand streaming services.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

The corporate and M&A practice at New York firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP acts on several of the largest transactions in the media and entertainment space, advising both large corporates as well as investment funds on their M&A activity in this sector. Recent instructions have included large deals in the print media, television, streaming, and live events spaces, with key clients including the board of directors of CBS, Altice USA, and Authentic Brands Group. Key figures within the practice are Ariel J. Deckelbaum, who led the team which advised CBS' board on its merger with Viacom and has a strong track record in large M&A mandates in this sector, as well as Michael Vogel, a 2019 promotion to the partnership with substantial media M&A experience. Justin Hamill departed the firm in 2019 for Latham & Watkins LLP.

Practice head(s):

Charles Googe

Other key lawyers:

Ariel Deckelbaum; Michael Vogel

Key clients

Advance

Imagine Entertainment

Altice USA

Legendary Entertainment

The Special Committee of the Board of Directors of CBS Corporation

Major League Baseball

Cast & Crew Entertainment Services

The Milwaukie Bucks

JACK Entertainment

VICE Media

Work highlights

  • Advised Altice USA, Inc., a New York-based cable television provider, in its $200m acquisition of Cheddar Inc., a New York-based live streaming service provider.
  • Advising funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC on the sale of portfolio company Endemol Shine Group, a Netherlands-based production company,  to Banijay Group, a France-based production company.
  • Advised Authentic Brands Group LLC, a New York-based brand development, marketing and entertainment company, in its $110m acquisition of Sports Illustrated from Meredith Corporation, an Iowa-based media conglomerate.
  • Advised Boat Rocker Media, a Canada-based global entertainment company, in its investment in Untitled Entertainment, a New York-based talent management and production company, and its acquisition of Matador Content, a New York-based full-service production company.
  • Advised Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, a California-based technology provider of software and services to the entertainment production industry, on its acquisition by The EQT VIII fund, a Sweden-based investment firm, from Silver Lake.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP's media transaction team acts for  a wide range of clients across the sector, with solid expertise in rights deals, financing, distribution agreements, and publishing. Stephen Sessa leads the team and focuses primarily on the music sector, particularly advising on the full spectrum of contract matters as well as catalogue purchases, and receiving instructions from clients on both the talent and corporate sides of the market. In 2019, the practice saw the arrival of Christian Simonds, who joined the New York Office from Gray Krauss Sandler Des Rochers LLP, and whose practice encompasses film, television, new media, and video games, and advice on finance,  development and production deals, and talent deals. Other key names include corporate and finance specialists Michael Sherman and counsel Moshe Kupietzky, along with James Sully. All lawyers are based in Century City except where indicated.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Sessa

Testimonials

Reed Smith have amazing experience within the firm. They have great integrity. And although it’s a big important firm, you always feel that they care and it feels very personal. Some firms are just too big, too impersonal and too corporate. Reed Smith is refreshingly different.

For me, Reed Smith is a firm where you can actually develop meaningful relationships with their lawyers. You don’t always feel like you are on the clock and paying for every minute of advice, they seem to really care. It’s the personal approach which is very unique and different to other firms. The quality and expertise of the advice they give is very reassuring. Michael Sherman holds all of these qualities and is such a pleasure to work with. 

Reed Smith are solution oriented and ability to think outside the box.

I rarely look forward to hiring and working with outside counsel but it has been a real treat to work with Christian Simmonds.

Sidley Austin LLP

Sidley Austin LLP is home to a team which focuses on transactions in the digital media  space including distribution and licensing deals. The practice is jointly led by Jennifer Coplan and Glenn Nash, based in New York and Palo Alto respectively, while San Fransisco-based Stephen Fronk is another key figure to note.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP focuses on high-value corporate finance and M&A mandates for clients in the media space, with a particular focus on clients who own or operate television networks, as well as a range of financial institutions and funds with involvement in the media space. The practice is headed by Howard Chatzinoff and Michael Lubowitz, both of whom operate out of the New York office. Chatzinoff has a particularly strong track record in the sector, while Lubowitz leads the firm's broader M&A practice. Another key figure within the practice is Jackie Cohen, who recently advised Discovery Communications on its joint venture with Magnolia, the home and lifestyle brand owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, which will create a multiplatform media company including a traditional television network and an over-the-top distribution service.

Practice head(s):

Howard Chatzinoff; Michael Lubowitz

Other key lawyers:

Jackie Cohen; Jeffrey Osterman

Testimonials

Weil are a strong team, practical and smart, collaborative, with strong negotiation skills.

Key clients

AMC Entertainment Inc.

Catalina Marketing

CBS Corporation

Dex Media, Inc.

Discovery Inc.

Getty Images Inc.

Guggenheim Securities

LBI Media Inc.

Major League Baseball Players Association

Mubadala Investment Company

Providence Equity Partners /Providence Strategic Growth

Scripps Networks Interactive

Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Starz, Inc.

Topgolf International, Inc.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Catalina Marketing, a provider of shopper intelligence and personalized digital media in a $1.9 billion restructuring involving a debt-for-equity exchange with its first-and second-lien lenders.
  • Advised Discovery, Inc. in its joint venture with Chip and Joanna Gaines’ home and lifestyle brand Magnolia, forming a multiplatform media company.
  • Advised LBI Media, Inc., a national Spanish-language radio and television stations broadcaster in its restructuring of over $530 million of debt through a pre-arranged chapter 11 plan sponsored by HPS Investments Partners.
  • Advised a consortium led by Mubadala Investment Company in the sale of its approximately 60% equity interest in EMI Music Publishing, valued at around $4.75bn.
  • Weil advised Getty Images Inc.  in $1 billion term, €450 million term and $80 million revolving facilities to refinance existing indebtedness.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

At Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, the media practice is engaged by a wide variety of clients across the sector to advise on transactional matters, with recent instructions coming from clients in the fashion, TV, live events, and film production industries, as well as social media, music, and digital publishing. The practice is led by New York-based Matthew Syrkin, who brings a long history of in-house experience to the table alongside his strong track record in transactional work. He recently assisted MGM studios-owned premium cable network EPIX in relation to partnerships and distribution deals deigned to give the network a presence in over-the-top content delivery. A notable highlight for the practice is its recent instructions in the field of art, having recently acted for Patrick Drahi in his $3.7bn take-private acquisition of Sotheby's auction house.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Syrkin

Other key lawyers:

Kenneth Lefkowitz

Testimonials

Really strong capabilities to take on extraordinarily complex deals. An extreme pleasure to work with at all turns. Hughes Hubbard Reed has a very solid understanding of market positions as well as tailored strategies for addressing perceived roadblocks. 

Matt Syrkin provides excellent advice – very thorough, but also practical at the same time. I think his in-house experience helps make him a more effective counsel than other partners in the same space who never practiced in house. His knowledge of technology in the entertainment field is unparalleled. He also understands issues from an international perspective, which is very important these days.

 

Key clients

Condé Nast

The Madison Square Garden Company

MGM Studios Inc.

Dave & Eggsy, Ltd.

John Varvatos Enterprises, Inc.

Patrick Drahi

The Madison Square Garden Company

Sony Music Entertainment

Bumble

Work highlights

  • Hughes Hubbard represented magazine publisher Condé Nast in the sales of Golf Digest, to Discovery, Brides Magazine, to Dotdash, and W Magazine, to Future Media Group.
  • Advised Dave & Eggsy Ltd. in connection with the upcoming Matthew Vaughn-produced Kingsman prequel.
  • Represented John Varvatos Enterprises, Inc. in connection with a partnership with HBO for a new line of men’s Game of Thrones apparel and accessories inspired by and incorporating elements of top designs featured in actual scenes of the hit HBO series.
  • Advised Sony Music Entertainment (SME) on the sale of The Orchard Film Group to 1091 Media.
  • Acted for John Varvatos Enterprises, Inc. in connection with a multifaceted creative collaboration and sponsorship arrangement with top male model Lucky Blue Smith.

Proskauer Rose LLP

Proskauer Rose LLP houses a practice which combines large-scale M&A transactions with advice on rights deals, distribution agreements, and strategic joint ventures in the broadcast space. The firm's leading sports practice bleeds over into their media work, with several recent broadcast deals concerning sports networks, such as the firm's work for fuboTV on its  content distribution agreement with NBCUniversal, as well as work for sports leagues on the broadcasting of their events, such as the Ivy League's ten-year rights deal with ESPN, which was handled by New York-based TMT practice head Robert Freeman. Freeman is a key figure in the firm's practice, along with private equity and M&A specialist Lauren Boglivi and IP specialist Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks. The firm is particularly experienced in issues involving OTT distribution, with several recent mandates in the streaming space for both distributors and content creators.

Practice head(s):

Robert Freeman; Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Boglivi; Jeffrey Neuberger

Key clients

Altice USA

Bain Capital

Cox Communications

Detroit Pistons

Digicel

Discovery Inc.

DISH Network

Empire City Casino

Fan Controlled Football League

fuboTV

Hulu

iHeartMedia

Learfield Communications

Los Angeles FC

Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee (LA 2028)

Minute Media

Major League Soccer

National Basketball Association

National Football League

Public Interest Registry

Spectrum (Charter Communications)

The Ivy League

The Stars Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Discovery in connection with its groundbreaking US$2 billion+ strategic alliance with the PGA Tour.
  • Represented Discovery in its multiyear partnership with the BBC, including the launch of a global direct-to-consumer streaming video service.
  • Represented the Ivy League on a 10-year deal with ESPN to become the exclusive national media rights holder for its conference.
  • Representing Digicel, an international communication and entertainment provider, in a variety of corporate matters including a sports broadcasting joint venture with C&W Communications.
  • Led Cox Communications’ negotiation of major distribution agreements with FOX Sports, Turner Networks, CBS and HBO.

Pryor Cashman LLP

Pryor Cashman LLP is highly experienced in the music sector, where it advises labels and distributors, talent, and industry trade associations on a wide array of work including transactions, endorsements, and licensing. The practice has significantly expanded its transactional presence in the music industry in 2019 with the recruitment of James Sammataro, who joined the Miami office from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP as co-chair of the practice. Along with Sammataro, Hans Hertell also joined the team, adding another name to the firm's music practice. Sammataro's fellow co-head James Janowitz, who practises from New York, is particularly active in the film sector, with a strong base of clients on both the talent and corporate sides of the market,  which he advises on rights deals, employment agreements, financing, and production agreements.

Practice head(s):

James Janowitz; James Sammataro

Other key lawyers:

Hans Hertell; Frank Scibilia

Key clients

National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA)/ Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)

Netflix

Facebook

David Gordon Green

First Look Media

IFC

Codigo Entertainment

CJ Entertainment

Cher

Work highlights

  • Represents American filmmaker, director, writer and long-time client David Gordon Green in relation to production deals with Apple.
  • Represented First Look Media, a multifaceted entertainment company with both journalistic and entertainment focus, in the acquisition of Passionflix, a streaming service of both original and acquired content largely based on romance novels.
  • Represented Cher, international music and culture icon, in connection with her license and endorsement agreement with Edge Beauty LLC.
  • Represented Miami-based Codigo Entertainment in the sale of Fania Records and Publishing, a famed independent Latin music company, to Concord Music.
  • Representing CJ Entertainment, a Korean production and distribution company, in connection with 10 forthcoming films to be developed for Hollywood.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP remains active in some of the media sector's largest transactions, including market-shaping M&A deals such as Disney's acquisition of Fox, large-scale financing transactions for key industry players and new market entrants, and IP-focused transactions. The practice is led by Howard L. Ellin, an M&A practitioner with particular expertise in the gaming sector, who recently advised Las Vegas Sands Corp on the $1.3 billion sale of the Sands Bethlehem property in Pennsylvania to Wind Creek Hospitality, and maintains a respectable deal flow in the media space.  In the financing segment, Stephanie Teicher is a particular name to watch, with a client list including several large financial institutions dealing with media-sector borrowers, along with a solid borrower-side practice. All attorneys are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

Howard Ellin

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Teicher

Work highlights

  • Advised Spotify Technology S.A. on several transactions, including its acquisition of Gimlet Media Inc., a producer of podcast content with a focus on narrative podcasts.
  • Represented Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC as lead underwriters in the $1.4 billion initial public offering of Class A common stock of Pinterest, Inc.
  • Advising Twenty-First Century Fox on its $71.3 billion acquisition by the Walt Disney Company and the related pre-merger spin-off of certain news, sports and broadcast businesses.
  • Representing A&E Television Networks, LLC in the amendment and restatement of its credit agreement which provided for a new $500 million revolving credit facility, a $700 million Term Loan A facility and a $300 million delayed draw term loan facility.
  • Representing Caesars Entertainment Corporation in its merger with Eldorado Resorts, Inc. to create the largest U.S. gaming company.