Telecoms and broadcast: transactional in United States
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP's New York-based team provides telecoms clients with high-value M&A and capital markets services, with a particular focus on transformative, large-scale acquisitions. The firm is experienced on both sides of the M&A table, acting as sell-side counsel in Time Warner's acquisition by AT&T, a market-shaping deal worth $109bn, and on the buy side on behalf of Disney regarding its pending $85bn acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Robert Townsend leads the group and specializes in complex M&A transactions, recently advising Cincinnati Bell on its $650m acquisition of Hawaiian Telecom. Faiza Saeed and George Schoen are key contacts for clients operating in the broadcasting and content delivery space; both advised on the Time Warner and Disney deals. Financing specialist Tatiana Lapushchik advised Citibank and JP Morgan in their provision of $10bn credit facilities to The Walt Disney Company. Capital markets expert William Fogg recently handled data center operator Cyrus One's $570m registered common stock offering, while Johnny Skumpija and Stephen Burns advised Crown Castle International on a $1bn debt offering and $831m stock offering.
Hogan Lovells US LLP's full-service, interdisciplinary practice stands out for its expertise in new technologies, particularly unmanned aircraft systems, Internet of Things, and healthtech. Washington DC-based communications practice head Michele Farquhar serves as lead counsel for the PTC-220 stakeholder coalition, a rail industry group implementing positive train control systems, which recently sought to purchase additional spectrum for its operations. DC-based Steven Kaufman and Northern Virginia-based Randy Segal lead the firm's space and satellite team, acting for clients including Planet Labs, which retains the firm in several transactional matters including launch service agreements and contracts. The team is also involved in big-ticket deals such as 21st Century Fox's merger with Disney, where it is one of Fox's regulatory counsels, and Sinclair Broadcasting's terminated deal with Tribune Media Group, where it operated as Fox's lead transactional counsel in the purchase of divested stations. New York-based M&A specialist Alexander Johnson is another key contact in the cross-practice team; he advised Anschutz Corporation on its sale of the majority shareholding of Regal Entertainment Group to Cineworld Group as part of a $5.9bn deal. Senior associates Sean Spivey and Arpan Sura are up-and-coming names within the firm.
Latham & Watkins LLP has significant experience in satellite, telecoms and broadcast transactions, for both financial clients investing in the space and established industry players. The firm recently advised CommScope on its $7.4bn acquisition of ARRIS International, as well as advising on related financing issues. Practice co-head Matthew Brill advises telecoms as well as private equity clients on their transactions, and recently assisted LogMeIn with its $350m acquisition of cloud-based communications provider Jive Communications. Fellow co-head James Barker handles spectrum work for clients, particularly concerning spectrum auctions and transactions, and recently acted for Blackrock Financial Management and ADK Capital Partners in connection with the FCC's AWS-3 spectrum auction. Barker and Brill are key contacts for the T-Mobile committee of independent directors, which they are advising in connection with T-Mobile's proposed merger with Sprint, in one of the wireless sector's largest recent transactions. Other recent highlights for the firm include work for Viasat in various spectrum proceedings, representing Hytera in its acquisition of Sepura and its US subsidiaries, and assisting JP Morgan in the debt financing of Sirius XM. Satellite and broadcast specialist John Janka serves as regulatory and transactional counsel for Viasat along with of counsel Elizabeth Park. All lawyers listed are based in Washington DC.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP provides the full spectrum of transaction services, but is notable for its work with large financial advisers on high-value transactions. Jonathan Levitsky works across both public and private M&A mandates, and recently handled work for Discovery Communications in connection with its $14.6bn acquisition of Scripps Networks, advised the Carlyle Group on acquiring Crestview Partner's shareholding in live broadcast company NEP, and advised Spruce House Investment Management on its $170m investment in GTT Communications. Levitsky, along with M&A specialist Paul Bird, advised Tribune Media on its now-cancelled sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group, and currently advises on Tribune's pending $6.4bn sale to Nexstar Media Group, one of the largest upcoming deals in the broadcast market. Levitsky leads the group along with Michael Gillespie and Michael Diz, both of whom specialize in telecoms and media transactions. Other prominent team members include William Regner and Jeffrey Rosen, who have a strong track record of work with large financial advisers, including clients such as Guggenheim Securities, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan Securities. Latin American media conglomerate Globo Comunicação e Participações, private equity firms Spruce House Investment Management, and broadcast company MSG networks are other notable names among the firm's client list.
DLA Piper LLP (US)
DLA Piper LLP (US)'s team is, according to one client, 'the strongest transactional practice in the telecom space', and is highlighted for its work in wireless transactions. Nancy Victory, who jointly leads the group, is praised by clients as a 'relentless, organized and smart' dealmaker, and recently advised Verizon on its multi-step reorganization. Fellow co-head Michael Senkowski is 'extremely knowledgeable and experienced', and forms a 'stupendous' team with Victory that 'instills confidence and trust '. Senkowski and Victory are acting for T-Mobile in its proposed acquisition of Sprint, in one of the largest telecom transactions in recent years. The 'tireless' Edward Smith, who focuses on wireless and satellite matters, is assisting on the T-Mobile deal, as well as handling joint venture work for OneWeb in cooperation with Senkowski and the firm's engineering team. John Beahn, a 2018 arrival from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, recently advised GTT Communications on its $40m acquisition of Access Point along with Reston-based transaction specialist Thomas Hendershot. In addition, Beahn is serving as lead regulatory counsel to 21st Century Fox in its $71bn acquisition by Disney, serving as national security counsel toT-Mobile in its acquisition of Sprint, and advising the Pennsylvania Broadband Investment Initiative Program on its investment in third-party broadband infrastructure deployment. The team is lauded for its 'strong bench', which includes wireless expert Eric DeSilva and associates Dana Zelman and Peter Shroyer. Lawyers are based in Washington DC unless otherwise indicated.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is known for its work with competitive and local telecoms providers on mid-market transactions, but also has a strong track record in large deals, such as Straight Path Communications' $3bn sale to Verizon. Andrew Lipman, a veteran in telecoms transactions and 'pre-eminent in the field', is most notable for his work with private equity firms and competitive carriers. Lipman advised Swedish private equity firm EQT on its $1.7bn acquisition of fiber company Lumos, as well as its acquisition of a majority stake in Spirit Communications. Russell Blau assisted Lipman in obtaining approvals for EQT's transactions, as well as handling GTT communications' $2.3bn acquisition of Interoute, along with Ulises Pin. Other key recent work highlights for the firm include its work on Impact Telecom's acquisition by Lingo Communications, on Cincinnati Bell's $650m acquisition of Hawaiian Telecom, and on FirstLight's acquisition by Antin Infrastructure Partners. Catherine Wang 'offers practical solutions' and is another key contact at the firm, specializing in complex regulated transactions as well as wireless and spectrum matters, and is recommended by clients for her 'great judgement and very sound advice'.
Paul Hastings LLP
Paul Hastings LLP's 'top-notch transactional practice' is noted for its work in broadcast transactions, particularly those involving spectrum issues. Eric Greenberg heads the transactional group, and forms a 'great team' with regulatory key contact Sherrese Smith, both bringing 'strong skills' in their respective specialisms. The firm recently acted for FirstLight in connection with its the financing of its acquisition of fiber optic networks, with Greenberg working alongside associate and transaction specialist Andrew Erber. Other highlights for the firm included its representation of Hemisphere media in its joint ventures with Univision communications in the mainland and Puerto Rican markets, its advice to the Royal Bank of Canada on the financing of Standard Media's acquisition of a television station portfolio from Tribune media, as well as handling 21st Century Fox's proposed $1bn acquisition of television stations due to be spun off in Sinclair Broadcast Group's acquisition of Tribune Media, terminated along with the main deal. A key recent mandate for the firm was its work with ION media on the acquisition of expiring broadcast licences in the wake of the FCC's incentive auction, expanding ION's portfolio through a first-of-its-kind series of transactions.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP's New York-based team has significant experience in satellite, cable and wireless transactions, and is also known for its involvement in the communications tower space. Practice co-head and tower industry specialist Bruce Gutenplan recently advised John Hancock Life Insurance on its acquisition of a 35% stake in wireless tower operator Phoenix Tower International. Gutenplan also works with cloud services and data center companies, advising Quantum Strategic partners on the $442m sale of portfolio company Zenium Data Centers to CyrusOne, as well as the spinning off and subsequent $93m sale of the company's Turkish operations. Other key clients for the firm include CMMB vision holdings, ATC telecom, and LStar Capital. Patrick Campbell left for Milbank in 2019.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP's transaction team a notable track record of work for private equity clients, as well as on high-level public M&A. Private equity specialists Shayla Harlev and Brian Gingold, based in Boston and New York respectively, advised private equity firm Antin Infrastructure Partners on its $1bn acquisition of FirstLight Fiber from Oak Hill Capital Partners. Harlev also recently advised Berkshire Partners on the sale of its majority stake in Torres Unidas to Andean Tower Partners. Michael Aiello operates out of New York and has significant experience working with large financial advisers and asset managers; he is acting for JP Morgan Securities and Perella Weinberg Partners in connection with AT&T's Time Warner acquisition, and for Evercore partners in its financial advice to T-Mobile's committee of independent directors in connection with the proposed Sprint merger. Aiello also handles broadcast transactions, such as advising Scripps Networks on its $14.6bn merger with Discovery Communications. Another name to note is Frederick Green, who assisted Straight Path Communications in its $3.1bn sale to Verizon Communications. Transactional specialist Howard Chatzinoff leads the group alongside Michael Lubowitz, both of whom have long histories in market-shaping telecoms deals, across the wireline, wireless and broadcast spaces.
Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
Headed by Chérie Kiser, the Washington DC-based team at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP has a significant presence in telecoms transactions, and is best known for its work with financial clients operating in the space as underwriters, lead arrangers and deal managers. Kiser is advising various financing sources in connection with $38bn of debt financing provided to T-Mobile for its proposed merger with Sprint, as well as working with the initial purchasers in notes offerings by Charter Communications, Equinix, Netflix, and Iridium Communications. Birch Communications is another prominent name in the firm's client list, retaining the team in connection with its merger with Fusion Telecommunications International. As part of its work for Birch, the practice also handled Birch's internal reorganization, including the spinning-off of its consumer and single-line business services to form Lingo Communications, for which the firm continues to act. Of counsel Angela Collins is another key contact for telecoms matters and has particular experience working with competitive local exchange carriers and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service providers. Kiser and Collins act as communications regulatory counsel for both Cable One, in connection with its pending acquisition of Clearwave Communications, and Lingo Communications, in its all-cash acquisition of Impact Telecom.
Cooley LLP is a strong choice for transactions which require FCC approval, particularly with former commissioner Robert McDowell among its ranks, and is distinguished by its prominent work in broadcast transactions. McDowell leads the group along with transaction specialist Michael Basile and broadcast regulatory expert John Feore. Basile advised long-term client Cordillera on the sale of most of its television businesses to Scripps, as well as the sale of its Tuscon operations to Quincy Media, for a combined $600m. McDowell has been retained by T-Mobile in connection with its proposed merger with Sprint, serving as regulatory and public affairs counsel. In cooperation with the firm's M&A and antitrust departments, Feore, Basile and McDowell are advising Gray Television on its $3.65bn acquisition of Raycom Media, one of the largest local broadcasting merges in recent years. A recent key area of work for the firm is broadcast transactions arising from the FCC's incentive auction, where the firm acts for several clients including Cox Media Group in post-auction transactions and channel-sharing arrangements. Kevin Mills is the name to note for telecoms and media clients seeking corporate advice, and recently handled Meredith's $2.8bn acquisition of Time along with Basile and members of the firms antitrust and debt finance practices.
Jenner & Block LLP
At Jenner & Block LLP, Samuel Feder heads the firm's Washington DC-based practice, which is 'a contender with fresh ideas', noted for its strong track record as regulatory counsel in telecoms transactions, and 'should be on every general counsel's list' in bet-the-company matters. Feder advised SoftBank Group, the controlling shareholder of Sprint, in connection with the FCC approvals required for its merger with T-Mobile, along with John Flynn. Flynn is a former FCC commissioner with significant experience in wireless issues, and also acts for key client TENGA on transactional issues. Telecoms provider Altice recently retained the firm in connection with its reorganization, and its spin-off of Altice USA from its European operations. Rebekah Goodheart, who has worked at both the FCC and DOJ, is another key name at the practice, and has significant experience acting as antitrust and strategic counsel. Other key clients for the firm include Comcast, Armis and Windstream. Associate Elliot Tarloff has experience in transactional matters, including structuring and regulatory advocacy. Flynn and Feder, along with former FCC general counsel Howard Symons and wireless specialist Roger Sherman, are lauded by clients for their 'breadth and range of experience', that 'matches any other telecom firm in DC'.
Focusing heavily on telecom financing, as well as space and satellite work, the team at Milbank is also notable for its strong cross-border capabilities. The team is jointly led by space and satellite experts Dara Panahy and Peter Nesgos, based in Washington DC and New York respectively. Among recent work, the firm handles financing for WorldVu (d/b/a/ OneWeb), securing $2bn of equity investments along with $3bn of debt financing for the company's non-geostationary satellite constellation; advised Qatari satellite operator Es'hailSat on the full acquisition of a satellite previously operated as joint venture with Eutelsat; and advised Iridium on a $360m note issue. Indonesian satellite operator Pasifik Satelit Nusantara retained the firm in connection with $168m of project financing for its PSN VI satellite project, as well as negotiating procurement and launch agreements. In addition to its representation of satellite companies, the firm also acts for financial clients, and recently advised ING Group on the development of an industry-first financing arrangement for MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, using future receivables from satellite sales as collateral. Following the publication of the guide, Patrick Campbell joined the firm from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. A significant hire for the team, Campbell has a wealth of experience across the telecoms space, working with wireline, wireless and satellite companies as well as private equity clients.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Washington DC-based Ivan Schlager heads the team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, which acts for clients in large-scale transactions across the telecoms, broadcast and satellite industries. The firm is serving as corporate counsel to 21st Century Fox in its acquisition by Disney, as well as the related spin-offs of its broadcast, sports and news businesses into Fox Corporation. The firm also advised Fox on the divestment of its $15bn stake in Sky to Comcast. Another key client for the firm is CommScope, for which it handles antitrust work in connection with CommScope's $7.4bn acquisition of Arris International.
Wiley Rein LLP
Wiley Rein LLP is noted for its ability to secure approval for complex telecoms and broadcast transactions, and has experience in wireline, wireless, satellite and broadcast matters. The firm recently advised CNZ Communications on its $6m acquisition of KOFY-TV from Granite Communications, as well as its sale of $1.5m in assets to HC2. Kathleen Kirby has a strong tack record in complex transactions requiring regulatory approval; she led the firm's advice to CNZ on the above matter, and heads the team along with Ambassador David Gross. In the field of space and satellite work, Jennifer Hindin is a notable name; she is advising Intelsat on spectrum transaction proposals in the C-band. Broadcast transaction specialist Jessica Rosenthal serves as lead transactional counsel for Alpha Media's radio acquisitions and divestitures, as well as related financing, and recently advised Ironwood Communications on the sale of two television stations for a combined $6m. The firm is also active in the broadcast tower space, with Rosenthal advising Vertical Bridge on several tower acquisitions. The firm also serves as regulatory counsel in iHeartMedia's Chapter 11 restructuring, securing the necessary FCC approvals for iHeart's emergence from bankruptcy.
Washington DC-based former engineer Todd Daubert leads Dentons' practice, which specializes in cross-border work and emerging technologies. The firm has a strong track record on behalf of early-stage companies, with Short Hills-based venture capital specialist John Cleary advising cloud video distribution service Zype on its Series A-3 financing, and fellow Short Hills-based operator Jeffrey Baumel advising Saphyre on a convertible note financing. Michael Cochran, who works out of the firm's Atlanta office, represents key client and venture capital firm Next Frontier Capital in several recent transactions, including equity investments in TwinThread, meateater, and Ataata, and the debt financing of Alpin. At the firm's New York office, private equity specialists Paul Gajer and Kate Buckley are advising Spire Capital on its investment in cloud service provider Dynamic Quest, while cross-border transaction specialists Kristina Beirne and Anthony Carroll advised Toppan Vintage on its multi-jurisdictional carve-out acquisition of Merrill's transaction and compliance businesses. Other key clients for the firm include KKR, Nokia and NextNav, as well as North American Portability Management.
Proskauer Rose LLP is highly experienced in broadcast matters, particularly those involving internet broadcasting and content delivery, as well as distribution agreements and issues concerning new broadcast technologies. Robert Freeman heads the practice along with Jeffrey Neuburger, while Lauren Boglivi is the key contact for private equity clients. Freeman and Boglivi recently advised Discovery Inc on its strategic alliance with the PGA tour, concerning the development of a worldwide over-the-top broadcast service, as well as its joint venture with The Enthusiast Network. Other notable matters Freeman has led for the team include negotiating rights and broadcast deals for the Fan Controlled Football League, the renewal of Cox Communication's distribution agreements with Turner Networks, and Major League Soccer streaming deals with Twitter and YouTube. M&A specialist Andrew Kleiman recently advised streaming service Saavn in its combination with over-the-top platform JioMusic. Other notable names in the practice include Frank Saviano, a sports law expert who advises on distribution agreements, and associate Krista Whitaker.
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has strong experience in satellite matters, as well as advising a range of private equity clients in their telecoms investments. Practice head Brian Weimer focuses on satellite, wireless and media companies, recently handling Astra Capital Management's acquisition of Alpheus, a Texas-based competitive local exchange carrier, for $205m. Weimer also recently acted for I Squared Capital in connection with its $1.9bn acquisition of Hutchison Telecom's fixed-line service, and assisted Global Eagle with satellite capacity purchases. Other key team members include Ray Rutngamlug, who specializes in communications service agreements, and associate Drew Svor. The firm's work with Ness Technologies is one of its most notable engagements, having represented the company in the proposed $325m cross-border sale of its digital solutions business to China-based HNA Group, as well as in litigation arising out of the subsequent failure of the transaction due to national security issues. While Weimer handled the corporate and national security issues in Ness' case, Paul Werner handled the litigation issues, and leads the firm's advice to social network Snap, which includes transactional and strategic matters concerning its move into mass media content.
Telecommunications Law Professionals
Boutique firm Telecommunications Law Professionals fields a team with strong expertise in obtaining transaction approval, spectrum matters and representing smaller companies in connection with acquisitions by large incumbent providers. Team leader Carl Northrop has a strong track record of telecoms work, and recently assisted C Spire with its FCC petition for the imposition of conditions on T-Mobile's acquisition of Sprint, in addition to handling the regulatory aspects of Skyriver Spectrum and Technology's sale of its communications businesses. Other names to note in the practice include managing partner Michael Lazarus, who advises the Competitive Carriers Association in connection with ongoing spectrum and transaction issues in the wireless broadband space, newly promoted partner Jessica Gyllstrom, and veteran practitioner Dennis Corbett, a broadcast specialist. Corbett and Gyllstrom act for Northwest Broadcasting in a range of matters, including retransmission fees and multiple ownership issues, while Corbett also acts in a similar capacity for Ramar Communications.