Telecoms and broadcast: transactional in United States

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Based out of New York, the team at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP primarily assists major telecoms and broadcasting companies with high-value mergers and acquisitions, banking and credit matters, capital markets transactions, and other complex financing transactions. Together with the firm's corporate practice, it is assisting Disney regarding its pending $85bn acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Practice head Robert Townsend is a vastly experienced M&A transaction specialist, while Johnny Skumpija focuses on capital markets transactions. Faiza Saeed and George Schoen are key contacts for clients in the broadcasting and content delivery space. Financing specialist Tatiana Lapushchik and capital markets expert William Fogg are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Robert Townsend III

Other key lawyers:

Johnny Skumpija; Faiza Saeed; Georrge Schoen; Tatiana Lapushchik; William Fogg

Key clients

Cable ONE

CommScope

Crown Castle

CyrusOne

Disney

Frontier Communications

Naspers

QUALCOMM

Rogers Communications

Viacom (Transaction Committee)

Work highlights

  • Represented The Walt Disney Company in its $85bn acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., overcoming an interloper bid by Comcast Corporation to its original $66 billion agreement.
  • Representing the Transaction Committee of the Board of Viacom in connection with Viacom’s pending $30bn merger with CBS.
  • Representing Frontier Communications in its pending $1.352bn sale of operations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington to WaveDivision Capital in partnership with Searchlight Capital Partners.
  • Represented CommScope in its $1bn  minority equity investment from The Carlyle Group as part of CommScope’s $7.4 billion acquisition of ARRIS International.
  • Represented Cable ONE in its $525.9m acquisition of Fidelity Communications’ data, video and voice business and certain related assets and in its acquisition of Clearwave Communications.

DLA Piper LLP (US)

DLA Piper LLP (US) has 'decades of experience handing complex and politically charged mergers', specifically large telecoms mergers. This work includes the firm's role as counsel to T-Mobile on its precedent-setting merger with Sprint, including the divestiture of Sprint’s prepaid business to DISH. Key clients include major satellite operators, media conglomerates and internet-based companies ranging from the likes of Amazon to small tech start-ups. Joint group head Michael Senkowski, a former Chief of Staff of the FCC, has extensive experience in spectrum allocation and wireless policy. Co-head Nancy Victory assists clients in areas of new technologies and services, including connected car matters. Victory and Senkowski stand out 'as smart leaders who leverage decades of experience on behalf of clients'. Eric DeSilva focuses on wireless matters, including 5G and Private LTE. Edward Smith 'combines legal talent' and a 'persuasive personality', and is a go-to lawyer within the group for wireless and satellite matters, namely mergers, acquisitions, and spectrum policy. Associates Dana Zelman and Peter Shroyer also come highly recommended. John Beahn departed to join Shearman & Sterling LLP. Lawyers are based in Washington DC unless otherwise indicated.

Practice head(s):

Michael Senkowski; Nancy Victory

Testimonials

‘The DLA Piper Telecom Group has played a lead role in our transaction. They have advised  on key deal issues. They secured FCC approval of the deal in the face of intense opposition; secured CFIUS approval of the transaction  and assisted in settlement negotiations with federal and state authorities. Their unique capabilities were probably best reflected in their preparation of the key merger advocacy documents. The DLA Piper Telecom Group took all these inputs and produced an elegant, understandable and persuasive presentation. 

‘Nancy Victory and Mike Senkowski have handled most of the major transactions in the history of telecom and wireless. Nancy has provided sound advice to our board, scrubbed our deal terms carefully, and negotiated key commitments that were critical to securing FCC approval. Mike was the ring master for getting all of our moving parts headed in the right direction and hitting the right notes. His efforts resulted in a masterful articulation of our case and development of an effective regulatory strategy.’

‘Ed “Smitty” Smith not only has been a key drafter of the major deal advocacy filings, but also the point person for explaining the transaction and securing settlements or approvals from key state authorities. He combines legal talent, a persuasive personality and, like Nancy and Mike, relentless commitment to our transaction’s success.’ 

‘Nancy Victory and Mike Senkowski are a strong team with many decades of experience handing complex and politically charged mergers. I value their experience and judgment in the M&A space and their legal advice is excellent.’ 

‘The DLA Piper practice group is first-rate and highly competent. The group has strong legal and engineering/technical skills and can handle diverse and complex regulatory and transactional matters.’ 

‘Impressed with all members of the group. I would single out Mike Senkowski, Nancy Victory, Edward Smith and Eric DeSilva as particular stand-out partners of the firm.’ 

‘There is no finer telecom transactions team in the profession. This group of whip-smart telecom lawyers can opine on hyper-technical filings and turn around to offer keen strategic guidance on critical transactions. Their knowledge of the industry and the technical practice informs their guidance and support on larger transactions, to ensure their clients don’t miss a beat. They give straight-forward, practical guidance and are always thinking holistically about a deal, always thinking ten steps ahead, to ensure the team remains on the right strategic path and is prepared for whatever may come.’ 

‘Nancy Victory and Mike Senkowski stand out as smart leaders who leverage decades of experience on behalf of clients. They readily offer straightforward advice, without getting mired in legalese. They are comfortable with any audience, and can speak to in-house counsel about the technicalities of a deal, then turn around and speak to senior executives about the strategy.’

Key clients

Deutsche Telecom AG

T-Mobile US, Inc.

WorldVu dba OneWeb

Viacom

21st Century Fox

GTT Communications

Work highlights

  • Representing Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile as lead regulatory counsel in the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, one of the largest telecommunications deals of the decade.
  • Represented T-Mobile with respect to CFIUS and Team Telecom reviews of its proposed merger with Sprint, obtaining prompt clearance of the transaction and negotiating the first mitigation agreement applied to a 5G wireless network.
  • Representing OneWeb in the negotiation of a complex joint venture agreement and related business arrangements with a Russian space entity, as well as deploying gateways in numerous countries.
  • Advised GTT Communications, a leading cloud networking provider to multinational clients, on its US$40m acquisition of Access Point, a US-based provider of communications services.
  • Acted as lead regulatory counsel representing 21st Century Fox, Inc. in connection with its multibillion transaction with the Walt Disney Co, advising the company on various commercial matters supporting the transaction.

Hogan Lovells US LLP

The interdisciplinary team at Hogan Lovells US LLP advises its impressive client roster on a range of transactions, especially M&A, spectrum auctions, and joint ventures that are complex and high-value. It has particular expertise in new technologies, such as unmanned aircraft systems, Internet of Things, and healthtech. The firm’s satellite practice is co-headed by Northern Virginia-based Randy Segal and DC-based Steven Kaufman, both of whom are 'brilliant individual lawyers' that 'bring an extra dimension to legal and commercial advice.' Fellow practice group leader Michele Farquhar, based in DC, is noted for her expertise in the telecoms sector, owing in part to her extensive experience working at the FCC and the Department of Commerce. Trey Hanbury  has more than 20 years’ experience in spectrum policy and is one of the leading voices for wireless and competition policy in Washington, D.C. A former legal advisor to an FCC Chairman, Ari Fitzgerald advises on a wide range of communications and spectrum policy issues, and New York-based M&A specialist Alexander Johnson is another key contact. Senior associates Sean Spivey and Arpan Sura are also highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

Randy Segal; Steve Kaufman; Michele Farquhar

Testimonials

Randy Segal and Steven Kaufman are both brilliant individual lawyers. As a team they are amazing, filling each other out in a magnificent manner. They bring an extra dimension to legal and commercial advice, great service, pinpointed input and anything I expect from a team of lawyers.’

Randy Segal is extremely well connected with businesses in the market, with commercial insight that was amazing. She‘s a sharp legal mind with great practical capabilities.’

Key clients

Columbia Capital

NBCUniversal

CBS

ABC (Disney)

News Corp

CNN

Dell

21st Century Fox

Roku

Orbital ATK

Akash

Planet Labs

Global IP

Telesat

Scorpius Space Launch Company

Orbit Fab, Inc.

Loft Orbital Solutions, Inc.

BeamTrail

Firefly Aerospace

Hunter Communications

LeoSat Enterprises

Work highlights

  • Advising SES, one of the world’s largest commercial communications satellite operators and the only company that operates both geostationary (GSO) and non-geostationary satellite fleets, on the development of a detailed proposal regarding repurposing the C-band spectrum through a satellite consortium that would enter into market agreements with mobile satellite operators to clear a portion of the 3.7-4.2 GHz spectrum band to allow first-time terrestrial mobile service in the band.
  • Assisted Airbus with a large investment and major satellite procurement contract with OneWeb, as well as assisting Airbus with its participation in a $1.25bn funding round.
  • Assisted T-Mobile in its effort to enlist third-party support for the proposed merger with Sprint before Congress, the FCC, the Department of Justice and most recently in opposition to the attorneys general who have joined in opposition to the merger.
  • Advising Vodafone on the sale of a subsidiary company, the firm’s first commercial deal for the company in the U.S.
  • Representing telecommunications, satellite, wireless, and technology private equity investor Columbia Capital in a broad range of their investments into, operation of, and sale of the various portfolio and other companies in which they have an investment.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP has extensive expertise in satellite, telecoms and broadcast transactions, representing key industry players and financial institutions. Its key capabilities include M&A, finance, commercial law, litigation, and intellectual property matters. Clients range from broadband service providers and telecoms carriers to radio and television stations. Its work includes advising T-Mobile’s committee of independent directors on T-Mobile's proposed merger with Sprint, one of the wireless sector's largest recent transactions. Practice co-head Matthew Brill advises telecoms as well as private equity clients, while fellow co-head James Barker handles spectrum work such as spectrum auctions and transactions. Broadcast specialist John Janka, of counsel Elizabeth Park, and experienced FCC expert Matthew Murchison are other key members of the team. All lawyers listed are based in Washington DC.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Brill; James Barker; Anthony Klein

Key clients

T-Mobile US, Inc.

Sinclair Broadcast Group

SiriusXM

J.P. Morgan

Stuff Media LLC

Entercom Communications

Corp.

Viasat, Inc.

Ribbon Communications Inc.

Integrated Device Technology, Inc.

Digital Realty Trust

Facebook, Inc.

One Equity Partners

WestView Capital Partners, LP

Calix, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Representing the committee of independent directors of T-Mobile in the proposed merger with Sprint, providing representation and advice on corporate, finance, communications, antitrust, CFIUS, intellectual property, and compliance matters.
  • Represented Sinclair Broadcast Group in its acquisition of 21 Regional Sports Networks from The Walt Disney Company, supporting all aspects of the transaction, including extensive diligence on the networks and associated content rights.
  • Advised Facebook on its acquisition of GrokStyle, a visual artificial intelligence company that provides vision-based AI solutions for retail products.
  • Represented J.P. Morgan in Sirius XM’s issuance of 3.875% Senior Notes due 2022 and 5% Senior Notes due 2027, and subsequent follow-on offerings.
  • Represented Stuff Media, the podcast pioneer whose portfolio includes the HowStuffWorks podcasting business and a slate of 25 other podcast shows, in its sale to media giant iHeartMedia.

Covington & Burling LLP

The team at Covington & Burling LLP handles a variety of transactions for both domestic and international companies in the telecommunications, media, and technology space. Washington-based Mace Rosenstein is a key practitioner in this area. Another Washington-based attorney, Matthew DelNero, as well as Los Angeles duo Mitchell Kamin and Robyn Polashuk, are names to note.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

The New York-based team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP advises clients on a broad range of transactions, but is noted for its work with large financial advisers on high-value transactions. Media conglomerates, private equity firms, and broadcast companies are among other key clients. Jonathan Levitsky works across both public and private M&A mandates, leading the team alongside Michael Gillespie and Michael Diz, both of whom specialize in telecoms and media transactions. M&A specialist Paul Bird  is also noted, as are William Regner and Jeffrey Rosen who both have a strong track record of work with large financial advisers.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Levitsky; Michael Gillespie; Michael Diz

Other key lawyers:

Paul Bird; William Regner; Jeffrey Rosen 

Key clients

Alibaba Group Holding Limited

Amazon

The Carlyle Group

Discovery Communications

Globo Comunicação e Participações S.A.

GoDaddy

Meredith Corporation

Tribune Media Company

Warner Music Group

Verizon Communications Inc

Work highlights

  • Advised Tribune Media Company in its $7.2bn sale to Nexstar Media Group.
  • Advising Amazon as a strategic partner, alongside the Yankees, Sinclair Broadcast Group and other investors, to Yankee Global Enterprises in their acquisition of the YES Network from The Walt Disney Company.
  • Advised Discovery Communications, Inc. on its $14.6bn acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc.
  • Advising Capital Group Private Markets and other selling shareholders in the $1.85bn sale of Eaton Towers to American Tower.
  • Advised The Carlyle Group on its agreement to acquire Crestview Partners’ remaining shareholding in NEP, a worldwide outsourced technical production partner supporting premier content producers of live sports, entertainment, music and corporate events.

Loeb & Loeb LLP

Scott Edel in Los Angeles heads the bi-coastal entertainment practice at Loeb & Loeb LLP, which advises on all sides of production, financing, and distribution deals in the film, television, and digital content sectors. The firm also has significant experience in the music industry; LA-based John Frankenheimer leads a team with established expertise acting for labels, talent, and in the live music and events space. On the east coast, key names include television practice chair Marc Chamlin, whose client list includes high-profile networks, talent, and production companies. Stefan Schick and Carol Kaplan, both of whom operate from the New York office, have notable expertise in the live theatre area, advising on licensing adaptations for the stage, financing, and related IP issues. In 2019 Andrew Kramer and entertainment finance specialist Paul Swanson joined the LA office from Global Entertainment Strategies and Irell & Manella LLP  respectively, while music specialist Derek Crownover joined the firm's Nashville office from Dickinson Wright PLLC.

Practice head(s):

Scott Edel

Testimonials

Scott Edel is the head of the department and our contact at Loeb. He is very responsive and well-informed on a broad range of entertainment topics. He supervises junior attorneys working on our matters carefully.

Key clients

Oprah Winfrey

BTS (Bangtan Boys)

Tencent

Tomorrow X Together (TXT)

Warner Bros.

Sony

Paramount

Nickelodeon

Lionsgate

Netflix

Fox

BET Networks

HBO

Disney Jr.

Alcon Entertainment

Audible

Glenn Close

Christie Brinkley

The Who

Melanie Martinez

Regina Spektor

Friends at Work

James TV

Diane Warren

Vice Media

Broadway, touring, London and other overseas theater productions

Alcon Television

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Citibank

G-Shock

Casio

Uber

UFC

Bank of America

Cineflix Media

Nonscripted Production Companies – Lucky 8 TV, Sharp Entertainment, Truly Original

Black Label Media

King Features, a division of the Hearst Corporation

Chip and Joanna Gaines, Andy Cohen, Ree Drummond, Sara Haines, Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin, Ty Pennington

Sony/ATV, The Maurice Sendak Foundation, John R. Cash Trust, Estate of Dean Martin, Estate of Alfred Hitchcock

Richard Tyler “Ninja” Blevins

Netflix

YouTube

BuzzFeed

MUFG Union Bank, N.A. and Comerica Bank

Nintendo

Ross Golan, Carrie Underwood, Quincy Jones, Vince Gill, Colbie Caillat, Duncan Sheik, Bill Maher, Corey Hart, Jordin Sparks, John R. Cash Revocable Trust, estate of B.B. King, Grand Ole Opry

Legendary Pictures

Superfly Events, KAABOO and Country Thunder Music Festivals

Showtime

Alcon Entertainment

Studio 8

American Idol

Studio 71

Warner Music Group

Picture Head Holdings

Vice Media

Zynga

Loretta Lynn

Rezonant Music Publishing

Various entertainers and recording artists –  Lauren Alaina, Anthony Hamilton, Chris Tomlin and Remi Adeleke

Numerous emerging musical artists – “The Accidentals,” Mereba, Teyana Taylor and Tim Montana

Singer-songwriters – Dan Smalley, Dylan Brady, Lance Miller, Anna Vaus and Tyler Reeve

Work highlights

  • Advises Big Hit Entertainment and the K-pop band BTS in all North American business strategy and legal affairs, including the band’s recording, endorsements, merchandising, touring and publishing agreements.
  • Representing Cineflix Media in its production and distribution deal extension with HGTV for the production of the hugely popular renovation series, “The Property Brothers”.
  • Represents the American singing competition show American Idol in connection with its agreements with all contestants and its relationships with Hollywood Records and Universal Music Publishing.
  • Representing Rezonant Music Publishing, in connection with several acquisitions of multi-million-dollar music publishing catalogs, as well as co-publishing and joint venture agreements.
  • Represented Comerica Bank in the negotiation of a credit facility for financing of the Australian television series “Halifax”.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Andrew Lipman and Catherine Wang head the team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP which assists mid-sized clients, especially tech and tech sector investors. Initial financing, M&A, build-out, licensing, and disputes are some of its areas of expertise. The team assists tech clients on satellite, wireless tower infrastructure, and sub-sea cable projects and also counts private equity houses and hedge funds among its clients. Seasoned practitioner Lipman, is noted for his work with private equity firms and Wang specializes in complex regulated transactions and wireless and spectrum matters. Key team member Ulises Pin, focuses on an array of wireless, VoIP, satellite, and land and submarine infrastructure transactions.

Practice head(s):

Andrew D. Lipman; Catherine Wang

Other key lawyers:

Ulises Pin

Key clients

Facebook Inc.

EQT Fund Management S.a r.l.

Crown Castle International Corp

Cincinnati Bell

Zayo Group, LLC

Securus Technologies Inc.

Ritter Communications

U.S. TelePacific Holdings Corp. dba TPx Communications

Pivotel

Smart City Holdings

Work highlights

  • Represented Swedish investment firm EQT Funds in multiple multibillion-dollar acquisitions of US telecommunications and infrastructure businesses.
  • Assisting Facebook with multiple submarine cable and infrastructure projects around the world.
  • Advised ExteNet Systems on regulatory and structuring issues related to a securitization transaction of the company’s assets.  
  • Advised Uniti Group in its acquisition of Bluebird Media and sale-leaseback transaction of Bluebird Media and Uniti’s Midwest operations to Macquarie.
  • Served as regulatory counsel to Smart City Holdings LLC and its ILEC and CLEC subsidiaries in a sale to Sapphire Intermediate Holdings, an affiliate of Court Square Capital Partners.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

The New-York based team at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP handles satellite, cable and wireless transactions, and is noted in the telecoms sector for its strengths in the communications tower space. Cable TV companies, data centre corporations, and the telecom infrastructure industry’s most active investors are some of its other key clients. Bruce Gutenplan, a practice co-head, is a tower industry specialist with extensive experience advising on mergers and acquisitions, financings and other corporate matters. According to one client, he is a 'brilliant and encyclopedic legal mind', who 'learns the nuances of each specific transaction, has exceptional communication skills and has an effective manner in negotiating on his clients' behalf'.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Gutenplan

Testimonials

In-depth partner legal and industry knowledge, responsiveness and communication, creative problem solving are key strengths of the firm.’

Bruce Gutenplan has a brilliant and encyclopedic legal mind, but unlike many of his peers is also curious and open to new ideas. He quickly learns the nuances of each specific transaction, has exceptional communication skills and has an effective manner in negotiating on his clients’ behalf.’

Work highlights

  • Represents the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of CBS Corp. in its merger with Viacom to form ViacomCBS Inc., a combined company with an enterprise value of more than $40bn.
  • Represents funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, Inc. in its acquisition of a majority interest in Cox Media Group’s broadcast television stations, including the company’s radio, newspaper and TV properties.
  • Represented American Tower Corporation in its $1.85 billion acquisition of Eaton Towers Holdings Limited.
  • Advised WaveDivision Capital and Searchlight Capital Partners on their $1.35bn acquisition of Frontier Communications’ Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana operations.
  • Representing Oak Hill Capital Partners in several transactions, including alongside Pamlico Capital, in its investment in Vast Broadband, a Missouri-based provider of high-speed broadband, video and voice services.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Part of the firm’s corporate practice, the New-York team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has a track record acting for domestic and international telecoms and broadcast companies and industry investors. The firm handles mergers and acquisitions, financings, IPOs, intellectual property licensing, debt and equity offerings, and restructuring matters. Works for private equity clients is a crucial element of the team’s workload.  Transactional specialist Howard Chatzinoff leads the group alongside Michael Lubowitz, both of whom have enviable track records on telecoms deals across the wireline, wireless and broadcast spaces. Michael Aiello is active on transactions with large financial advisers and asset managers, and Shayla Harlev and Brian Gingold, based in Boston and New York respectively, regularly advise private equity firms. Frederick Green, a co-head of the firm’s transactions practice, provides expertise in the corporate and securities aspects of transactions.

Practice head(s):

Howard Chatzinoff; Michael Lubowitz

Key clients

Advent International

Antin Infrastructure

Berkshire Partners

Discovery Inc.

Fiera Infrastructure

FirstLight Fiber

GS Infrastructure Partners

Guggenheim Securities

LBI Media

Mubadala Investment Company

ORIX Capital Partners

Panasonic Avionics Corporation

Providence Equity Partners

Softbank Group

Tower Three Partners

Trive Capital

Univision Communications

Vonage

Work highlights

  • Advised Antin Infrastructure Partners on its acquisition of FirstLight Fiber, a provider of high speed data, internet, data center, cloud and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers in the Northeast over its proprietary fiber optic network, from Oak Hill Capital Partners.
  • Advised LBI Media, Inc., a national Spanish-language radio and television stations broadcaster, onits restructuring of over $530m 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.
  • Advised Guggenheim Securities as financial advisor to Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., a television broadcasting company which provides services to television stations in the United States, in Sinclair’s $10.6bn acquisition of 21 Regional Sports Networks and Fox College Sports from The Walt Disney Company.
  • Advised Citi and other lead arrangers on a $1bn revolving unsecured credit facility for Fox Corporation with Fox’s spin-off from Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. and the related acquisition of the latter by The Walt Disney Company.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP

Headed by Chérie Kiser, the tight-knit Washington DC-based team at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP specializes in representing investment banks as underwriters, commercial banks as lead arrangers, as well as other financiers in communications-focused transactions. It also advises communications companies or broadcasters on areas relating to video, data, broadband, VoIP,  and cloud issues. Of counsel Angela Collins is a key contact for telecoms matters; she advises competitive local exchange carriers and VoIP service providers.

Practice head(s):

Chérie Kiser

Other key lawyers:

Angela Collins

Key clients

Citigroup,

Cable One,

Bank of America,

J.P. Morgan

Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented the initial purchasers in connection with a number of high-value offerings,  including an offering of $750m aggregate principal amount of 3.666% Senior Notes due 2022, for Fox Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.
  • Represented the underwriters in connection with a public offering of $1.250m aggregate principal amount of 5.125% senior secured notes due 2049 for subsidiaries of telecommunications and mass media company Charter Communications,
  • Represented active book-runners BofA Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo Securities and the other book-running managers and co-managers in the fourth largest bond sale to date.
  • Represented Cable One, Inc. as regulatory counsel in numerous corporate, litigation, regulatory, and transactional matters, including on its recent acquisition of Fidelity Communications’ data, video, and voice business and related assets for $525.9m in cash.
  • Represented the lead arrangers in connection with a $1,040m Term B credit facility, an $80m revolving credit facility and a €450mTerm B credit facility for Getty Images, Inc., a visual media company.

Cooley LLP

Led by former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell and transaction specialist Michael Basile, the Washington DC team at Cooley LLP advises on spectrum issues, including those related to wireless, equipment authorizations and device regulation, and satellite. Obtaining FCC approvals is a key area of strength, specifically broadcast transactions arising from the FCC's incentive auction, where the firm acts for several clients in post-auction transactions and channel-sharing arrangements.  Broadcast regulatory expert John Feore, telecoms and media corporate specialist Kevin Mills, and associate Henry Wendel are among the firm’s key practitioners in this space.

Practice head(s):

Michael Basile; Robert McDowell

Other key lawyers:

John Feore; Kevin Mills; Henry Wendel

Key clients

Cox Communications / Cox Media Group

T-Mobile

Apollo Global Management

Meredith Corporation

Gray Television

US Cellular Corporation

The E.W. Scripps Company

CBS Television Network Affiliates Association

Fox Affiliates Association

Iridium Communications

Microsoft Corporation

Blackstone Group

Work highlights

  • Advising AGM, one of the world’s largest alternative investment managers with assets under management in excess of $303 billion, on its Fund IX becoming one of the country’s largest owners of local television stations, rivalling Sinclair, Nexstar and Fox. The company continues to pursue additional transactions and the team is assisting on a wide range of communications regulatory matters related to its acquisition and operations strategies.
  • Assisting Gray on acquisitions and divestiture transactions, which includes one request pending before the federal regulatory authorities to own and operate two top-4 television stations in a smaller television market, pursuant to a policy adopted by the FCC in 2018.
  • Continues to support Meredith Corporations’ efforts to divest other non-strategic assets acquired in the Time Inc. deal.
  • Advises Iridium Communications on matters relating to international spectrum allocations and steps that the company can take to further expand its international business.
  • Advises the CBS Affiliates Association on matters relating to the OTT market and the agreements between the networks and the affiliates to ensure carriage of the affiliates’ signals on all OTT providers such as Hulu, Sony-Vue, Dish Sling, YouTube and others.

Milbank

Milbank’s multidisciplinary team handles a mix of telecoms financing work and space and satellite transactions, often with a cross-border element. The team is jointly led by space and satellite experts Dara Panahy and Peter Nesgos, based in Washington DC and New York respectively. It also has capabilities in advising on the development of complex telecom projects and, within the space and satellite industry, on commercial contracts, corporate or project financings, mergers and acquisitions, and restructurings. Patrick Campbell, a vastly experienced attorney across the telecoms space, advises wireline, wireless and satellite companies in addition to private equity clients. Senior associate Bijan Ganji and associate Alexis Sáinz are other key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Dara Panahy; Peter Nesgos

Key clients

OneWeb Satellites

NetLink NBN Trust

Es’hailSat (Qatar Satellite Company)

PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara

Avanti Communications

Iridium Communications Inc.

MethaneSAT LLC

ING Group (Bank)

Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS

Barclays, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Santander

Goldman, Sachs & Co., Mizuho Securities and J.P. Morgan.

Work highlights

  • Advises OneWeb on the development of a global satellite constellation, including procurement contracts, nearly $3.5bn in equity investments and up to $2bn in pending convertible debt financings by various developmental finance and other financial institutions and investors.
  • Advised Es’hailSat in connection with the acquisition of a jointly-owned satellite with Eutelsat S.A. of France, Eutelsat-25B/Es’hail-1, as well as regulatory rights and related licenses necessary to operate the satellite and future / replacement satellites.
  • Advising Pasifik Satelit Nusantara on the project procurement and financing of the “SATRIA” Public Private Partnership project sponsored by the Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
  • Representing Viasat, Inc. in relation to a satellite capacity, telecoms equipment and service agreement with Telecomunicacoes Brasileira S.A.,  involving Telebras’ recently launched SGDC-1 Ka- and X-band communications satellite.
  • Representing MethaneSAT LCC, an affiliate of the Environmental Defense Fund, in connection with the design, development and operation of MethaneSAT, a satellite system designed to observe methane emissions globally.

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP’s interdisciplinary team is noted for its work in broadcast transactions for household-name broadcast clients, particularly those involving spectrum issues and channel-sharing. It also handles traditional telecoms work, including representing clients before the FCC. It also provides assistance in areas such as labor and employment, and white collar crime investigations involving foreign providers. Based in Washington DC, Sherrese Smith, a regulatory and transactional expert in the broadcast space, leads the team after its former practice head Eric Greenberg left to join Perkins Coie LLP. Led by Smith, it represented 21st Century Fox in a $1bn acquisition of television stations from Tribune Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group. Associate Andrew Erber, who joined the firm from the FCC, assists Smith on the most significant matters in this space.

Practice head(s):

Sherrese Smith

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Erber

Key clients

TEGNA

National Association of Broadcasters

Twenty-First Century Fox

ION Media

Univision Communications

Bank of America

Lebara Group

Cox Media

AT&T (BellSouth Telecommunications)

Novacap Technologies III, L.P.

Work highlights

  • Advised 21st Century Fox on its $1bn of television stations from Tribune Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group.
  • Advising the Royal Bank of Canada on its financing of new media entrant Standard Media in financing its acquisition of a TV station portfolio from Citadel Broadcasting.
  • Represented Viacom Inc., a global, multi-platform entertainment brand, and PPKNTV Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc. in PPKNTV Inc.’s merger with and into Pluto Inc. an ad- supported streaming television platform, resulting in Pluto Inc. becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Viacom Inc.
  • Designed a deal structure in which ION will operate initially on a joint-venture basis and later acquire sole ownership of the JV operations.
  • Represented Novacap Technologies, a leading Canadian private equity fund, on FCC regulatory and Team Telecom national security matters in the acquisition of multiple fiber operators.

Wiley Rein LLP

The team at Wiley Rein LLP has a strong reputation in complex telecoms and broadcast transactions, and has experience in an array of sub-sectors, including wireline, wireless, satellite and broadcast. It  has developed specializations in newer media forms, such as online communications and video streaming, and direct broadcast satellite services. David Gross leads the practice alongside broadcast expert Kathleen Kirby, who has a strong track record in transactions requiring regulatory approval. Ari Meltzer primarily focuses on regulatory matters, but has works closely alongside team members on transactions. Eve Reed, is a media expert with considerable experience advising communications companies and investors on FCC compliance and reporting requirements, media ownership, foreign ownership, indecency, and political broadcasting issues.

Practice head(s):

Kathleen Kirby; David Gross

Other key lawyers:

Ari Meltzer; Eve Reed

Key clients

Salem Media Group

Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.

National Association of Broadcasters

iHeartMedia

Gray Television, Inc.

Radio Television Digital News Association

Alpha Media USA

Emmis Communications

Red Apple Media

CBS Corporation

LBI Media Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Nexstar on its complex merger with Tribune Media Company.
  • Advised Gray Television on its acquisition of Raycom Media, transforming Gray from a small, regional broadcaster to a leading media company with nationwide scale.
  • Advised Emmis Communications Corporation on a variety of transactions, including the sale of radio stations in Austin, TX, and formation of a new publicly traded company on Nasdaq, to be called Mediaco Holding, via a 24%/76% partnership with majority investor Standard General.
  • Represents iHeartMedia with more than 860 stations that operate in more than 150 markets, including 45 of the top 50 and 85 of the top 100 in all aspects of its business operations, including guiding the company on consolidating debts of over $20bn.
  • Advised Red Apple Media on the acquisition of legendary New York radio station 77WABC from Cumulus Media, marking the company’s first foray into media. This included negotiating and advising on all aspects of the transaction, including due diligence, tower and equipment inspection, regulatory, programming rights, real estate and intellectual property.

Arnold & Porter

Best known for its close transactional relationship with AT&T, the team at Arnold & Porter has guided telecoms companies through some of the largest mergers in the market. Headed by regulatory expert Maureen Jeffreys, its clients also include companies in the consumer products, pharmaceutical, and education sectors. As well as assisting on large M&A deals, the department advises on novel spectrum policy issues, the regulatory implications of new products and technologies, First Amendment issues, and represents cable television operators in franchise disputes with municipalities. Scott Feria, a key transactional lawyer, also has experience in debt and equity financing transactions. Peter Schildkraut is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Maureen Jeffreys

Other key lawyers:

Peter Schildkraut; Scott Fiera

Key clients

AT&T Inc.

KQED, Inc.

L3 Technologies, Inc.

National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies

Greater Washington Educational Telecommunication Association, Inc.

KCETLink

North Texas Public Broadcasting, Inc.

Crowley Technologies

Public Media Group of Southern California

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead counsel to AT&T in the FCC transaction review and participated in negotiating these conditions with FCC staff.
  • Served as lead FCC counsel to Southern California’s two large public television stations, KCETLink Media Group and PBS SoCal, in their merger.
  • Lead regulatory counsel for AT&T in its acquisition of wireless spectrum licenses from C Spire.
  • Represented an ad hoc group of lenders comprising  more than 50 funds, managed by Eaton Vance, OppenheimerFunds, and Symphony Asset Management, in the successful restructuring of iHeartMedia, Inc. and some of its subsidiaries.
  • Represented an ad hoc group of more than 30 term lenders to Cumulus Media, Inc. the second largest owner of radio stations in the US, in Cumulus’s bankruptcy and restructuring.

Dentons

Headed by Washington DC-based Todd Daubert, Dentons’s practice focuses on technology-based transactions in addition to acting for private equity and investment clients on financing projects. The firm, which often represents early-stage companies, can also provide clients with tax, securities, intellectual property, litigation, regulatory and employment assistance. Washington DC-based managing associate Lauren Wilson advises clients on issues such as privacy and data security, competition, and compliance. New York-based Victor H. Boyajian (who heads the firm’s global venture technology practice) and Michael Cochrane in Atlanta, a corporate lawyer, are two of the most experienced practitioners; the duo represent key start-up clients on finance-driven transactions in the telecoms space. Short Hills-based venture capital specialist John Cleary and New York-based Chris Errico are two other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Todd Daubert

Key clients

Nokia

T-Mobile

Circle Media Labs

Zype

Pure IP

Budderfly

Work highlights

  • Advised Zype on numerous late stage VC deals, including revenue financing from Novel Growth Partners, warrant financing from Runa Partners & Point Nine Capital, and convertible Note Financing from Zype
  • Advised Circle Media Labs Inc. on the $20m  Series B funding, including participation from NETGEAR and T-Mobile US, along with participation from Third Kind Venture Capital and follow-on investments from Relay Ventures and other Series A participants.
  • Advised and negotiated resell and other service agreements for Pure IP with global telecom providers in more than a half dozen countries in South America and Eastern Europe, ensuring that strict compliance obligations were appropriately allocated between Pure IP and the relevant third party.
  • Advised Budderfly on series C and secured Note Financing led by Balance Point Capital.
  • Representing T-Mobile in the negotiation and implementation of an agreement (and subsequent amendments) with Inteliquent.

Jenner & Block LLP

Jenner & Block LLP has considerable experience representing clients on regulatory matters. Samuel Feder heads the firm's Washington DC-based practice, which assists client at all stages of FCC approvals. John Flynn, a former FCC commissioner, focuses on wireless issues and Rebekah Goodheart, who has worked at both the FCC and DOJ has additional experience in antitrust. Howard Symons and wireless specialist Roger Sherman are also noted team members.

Practice head(s):

Samuel Feder

Proskauer Rose LLP

The interdisciplinary team at Proskauer Rose LLP handles a range of transactions in the telecoms and broadcast sectors, and has a specialism in internet broadcasting and content delivery in the sports sector. Other areas of strength include advising on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, financings, and licensing arrangements. It also has notable expertise in related IP issues. Robert Freeman heads the practice along with Jeffrey Neuburger, while Lauren Boglivi is the key contact for private equity clients. Sports law expert Frank Saviano and associate Wai Choy are other key team members.

Practice head(s):

Robert Freeman; Jeffrey Neuburger

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Boglivi; Frank Saviano; Wai Choy

Key clients

Altice USA

Bain Capital

Cox Communications

Detroit Pistons

Digicel

Discovery

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

Spectrum (Charter Communications)

The Ivy League

The Stars Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Discovery on its $2bn strategic alliance with the PGA Tour to develop and launch a new “home of golf” direct-to-consumer programming service “GOLFTV”, which launched in January 2019 outside the U.S.
  • Represented The Stars Group in the formation of a first-of-its-kind media and sports wagering partnership in the U.S. with FOX Sports.
  • Representing Digicel, an international communication and entertainment provider, in a variety of corporate matters including a sports broadcasting joint venture with C&W Communications.
  • Represented LA 2028 in its groundbreaking partnership with NBCUniversal to sell media inventory and sponsorship rights both for the LA 2028 Games and for Team USA over the 2022, 2024, 2026 and 2028 Olympic Games.
  • Represented Discovery Inc. in its acquisition of Golf Digest, one of the world’s leading golf media brands, from Condé Nast.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is particularly active on satellite transactions, and advising private equity clients on their telecoms investments. Satellite, wireless and media expert Brian Weimer heads the practice, which also handles acquisitions and mergers. Recent work of note includes advising social network giant Snap concerning its move into mass media content. Paul Werner handles the vast majority of the litigation issues arising in the telecoms space, while Ray Rutngamlug specializes in communications service agreements. Associate Drew Svor is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Brian Weimer

Other key lawyers:

Paul Werner; Ray Rutngamlug; Drew Savor

Key clients

Charter Communications

OneWeb

KTSAT

Snap

Ness Technologies S.A.R.L.

Global Eagle Entertainment

Astra Capital Management

Piper Networks

Rakuten

Zayo Group

Rite Aid

CVS

Susan L. Uecker, Receiver

Comcast Communications

Cox Communications

California Cable & Telecommunications Association

Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association

The Internet & Television Association

Telecommunications Association of Maine

SES Government Solutions

Work highlights

  • Advises Snap, one of the world’s largest social networks, on numerous entertainment, media and technology agreements, as well as transactional advice and strategic counseling on platform development and deployment.
  • Advises Charter on an ongoing basis on its efforts to deploy various “wireless” technologies on existing infrastructure, especially utility poles, in public rights-of-way. This involves the drafting and negotiation of statewide bills, municipal and county ordinances, and commercial negotiations with utility infrastructure providers concerning the rates, terms and conditions of attachment.
  • Assisted Global Eagle with satellite capacity purchases which enable it to provide high-speed, in-flight broadband to its airline and maritime customer.
  • Advised international e-commerce conglomerate Rakutenon its investment in Altiostar Networks, a U.S.-based provider of virtual radio access network solutions.

Telecommunications Law Professionals

Telecommunications Law Professionals handles mergers and acquisitions, equipment and infrastructure contracts, approvals and financing transactions. It represents smaller companies in connection with acquisitions by larger organisations. Jointly led by managing partner Michael Lazarus and founding partner Carl Northrop, this boutique regularly receives conflict referrals. The vastly experienced Northrop has a strong track record of telecoms work, while Lazarus tends to specialize in spectrum and transaction issues in the wireless broadband space. Other key names to note are submarine cable and fiber optic cable expert Jessica Gyllstrom and broadcast specialist Dennis Corbett. All lawyers are based in Washington unless otherwise indicated.

Practice head(s):

Michael Lazarus; Carl Northrop

Other key lawyers:

Dennis Corbett; Jessica Gyllstrom

Key clients

GCI Communication Corp./The Alaska Wireless Network LLC

Northwest Broadcasting

Cellular South, Inc.

Skyriver Spectrum & Technology LLC

Ramar Communications

PR Wireless, LLC

Work highlights

  • Advising Northwest Broadcasting, Inc. on various aspects of its pending merger with Terrier Media Buyer, a large, complex transaction that also involves assets of the Cox Media Group and participation on the Terrier side by Apollo Global Management.
  • Assisted Skyriver Spectrum & Technology LLC to become a qualified applicant in Auction 102 where it was the successful high bidder on additional 24 GHz licenses and has counseled the company on multiple spectrum transactions.
  • Advises Ramar on FCC-regulatory issues as well as transactional issues.