skip to main content

At Paul, Weiss, we help build the business of media, sports and entertainment. Traditional and emerging media, sports and entertainment companies and their investors trust us to handle their most important and complex matters–whether a game-changing corporate transaction or financing, matters involving valuable intellectual property, a high-profile litigation or an internal investigation.

Representative Engagements

Paul, Weiss has represented every type of talent across all media and entertainment outlets. Noteworthy representations have included:

  • Film
    • A major investment bank in the securitization of the Miramax film library, which is the first publicly issued securitization of film library assets in a 144A transaction and the first major film ABS transaction of any kind to close since the financial crisis.
    • Imagine Entertainment, a California-based film and television production company founded by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, in connection with an investment in the company by The Raine Group, a New York-based global merchant bank.
    • Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO and Director of DreamWorks Animation, a California-based global family entertainment company, in DreamWorks Animation’s $3.8 billion acquisition by Comcast Corporation.
    • Lucasfilm in all of the publishing agreements relating to the three prequel Star Wars motion pictures.
    • Paramount Pictures Corporation in a trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Paramount had been sued by four investors in a slate of 25 films. The trial resulted in a judgment dismissing all claims against Paramount including claims of federal securities fraud, common law fraud and unjust enrichment.
    • VICE Media, a New York-based youth media brand and digital content studio, in its sale of a minority stake to 21st Century Fox.
  • Television
    • Barefoot Contessa Pantry LLC, Ina Garten and Ina Garten LLC in obtaining a temporary restraining order and then a favorable settlement of a trade dress infringement suit against a large frozen food distributor, resulting in a permanent injunction barring the use by defendants of Barefoot Contessa’s intellectual property and requiring the destruction of the infringing products and payment to the client.
    • Cablevision Systems Corporation in a trial and subsequent proceedings before the FCC resulting in the dismissal of a carriage complaint brought by Game Show Network.
    • Charter Communications in a contract dispute with Fox News over the appropriate agreement that governs the programming relationship between Fox News and the combined New Charter company following the 2016 merger of Charter and Time Warner Cable, Inc.
    • Advised Goldman Sachs, as creditor, in restructuring $750 million of debt secured by global television syndication revenue from the CSI TV Series.
    • Funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management in the acquisition of Endemol, a television production and distribution company, and in connection with the joint venture involving Endemol and 21st Century Fox-owned Shine Group to create a leading global multi-platform content provider.
    • Comcast Corporation and Comcast Cable Communications, LLC in the dismissal of an FCC administrative action brought by Liberman Broadcasting Inc. under Section 616 of the Communications Act. Liberman alleged that Comcast engaged in unlawful discrimination under the Act by denying broad distribution to Liberman’s Spanish-language television network, Estrella TV, while favoring Comcast-owned Spanish-language networks Telemundo and NBC Universo.
    • The Nielsen Company, the leading provider of television ratings in the United States, in:
      • a monopolization case before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida brought by Sunbeam Television Corp., the FOX affiliate station in Miami. Sunbeam had claimed that Nielsen’s rollout of a new ratings measurement methodology was a violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act. The District Court granted Nielsen summary judgment, which was confirmed on appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit;
      • a multi-jurisdiction monopolization case alleging that Nielsen had monopolized or attempted to monopolize the U.S. retail tracking market and 30 foreign markets through a combination of exclusionary acts, including predatory pricing, bundled discounts and exclusive retailer contracts; and
      • obtaining clearance from the Federal Trade Commission for the acquisition of Arbitron, the leading radio ratings company, after an extensive Second Request investigation.
    • Time Warner Cable, Inc. in:
      • its $78.7 billion merger with Charter Communications and in the subsequent investigation by the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice;
      • an action in New York Supreme Court by shareholders of the company alleging that the board of directors of Time Warner Cable breached their fiduciary duties in negotiating and executing the merger agreement between Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications;
      • negotiating the renewal of all of its cable television franchises with New York City multiple times; and
      • a now-terminated investigation by the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice into Comcast Corporation’s proposed $45.2 billion acquisition of TWC.
    • VICE Media in several transactions including its joint venture with A+E Networks, a New York-based global media content company, to launch a new 24-hour cable channel programmed and produced exclusively by VICE. The channel launched in 2016 as VICELAND.
  • Music
    • The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the oldest and largest music performing rights organization in the United States in:
      • in connection with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice’s review of the Consent Decree in United States v. ASCAP, and its consideration of proposed modifications to the decree; and
      • in connection with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice’s review of the Consent Decree in United States v. ASCAP, and its consideration of proposed modifications to the decree; and
      • a significant and closely watched trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to determine a reasonable license fee for the use of musical works in the ASCAP repertory by music service Pandora.
    • Citigroup in winning a jury verdict (subsequently reversed on appeal) in the Southern District of New York finding Citigroup not liable for fraud in connection with the sale of the music company EMI to private equity firm Terra Firma.
    • National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) in several litigations, including copyright infringement actions and rate-setting proceedings for reproduction and distribution royalties. We represented the NMPA, the Songwriters Guild of America and the Nashville Songwriters Association International as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the rates and terms for the mechanical license set by the copyright royalty judges.
    • Sony in:
      • its $1.2 billion acquisition of Bertelsmann AG’s 50 percent stake in Sony BMG, the world’s second largest recorded music company. The music company, which has changed its name to Sony Music Entertainment, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony; and
      • a refinancing of Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC along with pop star Michael Jackson’s estate. Sony and trusts associated with Jackson are 50/50 owners of a 4,000-song music catalog that includes 200-plus Beatles songs and hits by Leonard Cohen, Miles Davis, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, the Everly Brothers, Jimi Hendrix and many others.
    • Warner Music Group in its sale to Access Industries for $3.3 billion. Warner Music is one of the “big four” recorded music businesses, and home to the labels Warner Bros., Elektra and Atlantic. It also owns Warner/Chappell Music, the third-largest music publishing business.
  • New Media
    • The co-founder of TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., an online publisher of news and original content, in AOL Inc.’s $315 million acquisition of The Huffington Post.
    • General Atlantic in its acquisition of a minority stake in Vox Media, a Washington, DC and New York-based digital media company.
    • Microsoft Corporation in connection with the antitrust aspects of its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn.
    • One of the top five Silicon Valley technology companies concerning issues with a major cell phone carrier.
    • Ruby Life Inc., the owners of the Ashley Madison website, in connection with multi-district class action lawsuits stemming from a highly publicized intrusion and data breach.
    • Tencent Holdings in its joint venture with Groupon Inc. to launch a group-buying services website in Mainland China.
    • William Morris Endeavor (now Endeavor), one of the world’s leading entertainment and media agencies:
      • in its acquisitions of Fusion Marketing and IMG LIVE, two experiential marketing agencies; and
      • as a third party in a trademark infringement suit brought by Dov Seidman, a client of WME’s literary department, against WME-affiliate Droga5, an advertising firm, and Chobani, a Greek Yogurt manufacturer, alleging infringement of Plaintiffs’ marks in an advertising campaign Droga5 created and launched for Chobani.
  • Live Stage
    • Cirque du Soleil in production work related to touring and permanent attractions around the world, including Las Vegas.
    • Licensing and rights deals related to the live stage productions of Billy Elliot, 9 to 5, The Book of Mormon, The Addams Family, Come Fly Away, Shrek, and the Pulitzer prize-winning Ruined, as well as the revivals of Cats, Hair, South Pacific, A Chorus Line, Dreamgirls, La Cage Aux Folles, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Phantom of the Opera, Dividing the Estate, Bye Bye Birdie and Waiting for Godot.
    • Paul Blake, Emeritus Executive Producer of the legendary St. Louis MUNY, in connection with initial production and later general representation of the musical, Beautiful.
    • WME IMG Holdings, LLC (now Endeavor), a global entertainment and media agency, in its acquisition of The Miss Universe Organization, a New York-based international organization including Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA that advances and supports opportunities for women, from Donald Trump.
  • Publishing
    • Apollo Global Management in its $2.5 billion acquisition of McGraw-Hill Education, a digital learning company.
    • Harlequin Enterprises Limited, a romance novel publisher, in defense of an alleged breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Plaintiffs’ claims arise from royalties earned on the sale of e-books that were originally published prior to the advent of digital publishing technology.
    • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company and its affiliates in the completion of one of the largest out-of-court balance sheet restructurings. Highlights include senior secured lenders with claims in excess of $4 billion converting more than half of their debt into equity, mezzanine lenders with $2.1 billion of secured debt converting all of their debt into equity and warrants to purchase additional equity in the company and a $650 million rights offering to certain company lenders.
    • Tribune Company, a media company that owns television stations including WGN America and newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, as special financing counsel for the company’s chapter 11 exit financings, comprised of a $1.1 billion term loan facility and a $300 million asset-based facility.
  • Video Games
    • Activision Blizzard, Inc. in the settlement of a lawsuit with two former executives over payment and royalties for the development of popular video game titles including Call of Duty. Activision did not disclose details of the settlement, which was announced just before the parties went to trial in a Los Angeles state court.
    • Discovery Communications, a Maryland-based nonfiction media company, in its acquisition of Revision3, a California-based online video provider.
    • MTV Networks/Harmonix in day-to-day intellectual property advice on videogame projects and ancillary rights related to the Dance Central and Rock Band titles.
    • Rockstar Games:
      • and the key members of the creative team behind the renowned Grand Theft Auto series in an agreement with Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.; and
      • in various matters, including day-to-day intellectual property advice related to Red Dead Redemption.
    • Take-Two Interactive, a video game maker, in the dismissal of a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that its top-selling Grand Theft Auto game was responsible for training and causing a teenager to commit murder.
    • Viacom Inc. in litigation stemming from its acquisition of Harmonix.
  • Sports
    • A Special Committee of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the union that represents professional basketball players, to conduct an independent internal investigation of the Union’s leadership and business practices. The investigation focused primarily on the NBPA’s former executive director, G. William “Billy” Hunter, and on allegations of nepotism, conflicts of interest and the potential misuse of NBPA funds.
    • Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in a nationwide class action in the Northern District of California that sought injunctive relief in the form of rules changes and medical monitoring as a result of FIFA’s alleged failure to take action to address the harmful effects of concussions. Paul, Weiss succeeded in getting the claims dismissed with prejudice for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.
    • Infront Sports & Media AG (Infront), a Swiss marketing company, in connection with a putative class action in the District of Nevada brought against Infront and five other defendants, including Fédération Internationale Football Association (FIFA). Judge James C. Mahan of the District of Nevada dismissed plaintiffs’ claims against all defendants, without prejudice, based on a finding that plaintiffs lacked standing.
    • Major League Baseball in:
      • the $2.15 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to Guggenheim Baseball Management;
      • a nationwide antitrust action by a class of purchasers of the MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV out-of-market packages, who claimed that MLB violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act by allegedly conspiring to prohibit the teams from broadcasting their individual MLB games nationwide in competition with the multi-team out-of-market packages; and
      • in connection with the ongoing issuance of multi-billion dollar securitization facilities backed by the league’s national media revenues.
    • Minnesota Vikings in an out-of-court settlement resolving allegations of wrongful termination and defamation of character threatened by a former player.
    • National Football League (NFL) in:
      • an internal investigation in connection with alleged tampering of game-day footballs used by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game;
      • a number of high-profile matters including hundreds of concussion lawsuits brought by more than 5,000 former NFL players arising from the alleged long-term effects of concussions sustained by them while they played professional football; and
      • an investigation into workplace conduct within the Miami Dolphins organization.
    • The buyer group, led by Vincent Viola of VirtuFinancial, in its acquisition of the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League, Sunrise Sports & Entertainment and the rights to the franchise’s arena until 2028.
    • William Morris Endeavor (now Endeavor), along with private equity partner Silver Lake Partners, in their acquisition of IMG Worldwide, a leading sports and media talent agency.
    • WME IMG Holdings, LLC (now Endeavor), a California-based global entertainment and media agency:
      • together with IMG College, in its joint venture with JMI Sports, a California-based provider of sales, marketing and project management services to universities and professional sports teams, to provide colleges and universities with enhanced campus-wide marketing services and solutions;
      • together with IMG College, in a contract dispute with a prominent university regarding the licensing and marketing of its athletic programs. The parties resolved the matter in a successful mediation;
      • in its acquisition of Ultimate Fighting Championship, a Nevada-based professional mixed martial arts (MMA) organization; and
      • in its acquisition of Professional Bull Riders, Inc., a Colorado-based bull riding circuit.
  • Theme Parks
    • Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. in its sale to an affiliate of Apollo Global Management for approximately $798 million, including the assumption of the company’s outstanding debt, through a cash tender offer.
    • Shanghai Shendi Group in its joint venture with Disney to develop Shanghai Disney Resort, a theme park in Shanghai, China. The joint venture, ten years in the making, resulted in the first world-class and Disney-branded resort in China.
    • Marvel Entertainment, Inc. in the proposed establishment of a joint venture in the People’s Republic of China with CITIC Rising Star Travel Investment (HK) Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of CITIC Group, for the development of merchandising, publishing, distribution, movie and television entertainment and other business opportunities for Marvel’s comic images, the creation of new images by integrating local characteristics and the establishment of an amusement park.
    • Universal Parks & Resorts, in connection with the proposed Universal Beijing Resort project which will include the Universal Beijing Theme Park, CityWalk and a Universal branded hotel.
  • Integrated Media
    • NBCUniversal against two Rule 23 class and Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) collective actions brought by Parking Production Assistants (“PPA”) who worked on NBCUniversal-produced films and television shows. The parties have reached a settlement in principle for an as of yet undisclosed amount.
    • News Corporation and its subsidiary, News America Marketing, in several litigations, including in:
      • an antitrust class action brought by customers of NAM’s in-store marketing products. The class plaintiffs claimed that NAM illegally monopolized an alleged market for in-store promotional services by engaging in a variety of alleged exclusionary practices. Plaintiffs sought hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, before trebling. The case settled after the first day of a jury trial in the Southern District of New York; and
      • two antitrust actions brought by one of NAM’s competitors, Valassis Communications, Inc., in the Eastern District of Michigan.
    • Sony in connection with various technology and intellectual property agreements.
    • WME IMG Holdings, LLC (now Endeavor) in a dispute alleging that certain individuals associated with IMG had breached the companies’ services agreement relating to the use of certain proprietary software in a manner that allegedly violated federal criminal statutes. Paul, Weiss investigated the allegations and has worked to ensure the dispute does not lead to either civil litigation or a referral to the Department of Justice.
  • Communications Infrastructure
    • Ericsson, as part of Rockstar Bidco, a consortium of certain technology companies including Apple, Microsoft and RIM, in the $4.5 billion purchase at auction of Nortel Networks’ portfolio of over 6000 patents.
    • Grupo Salinas:
      • against AT&T in a dispute relating to pre-closing indemnification claims brought by AT&T following its acquisition of Grupo Salinas’ Mexican wireless provider Iusacell; and
      • in its $2.5 billion sale of Iusacell, a Mexico-based wireless company, to AT&T. AT&T acquired all of Iusacell’s wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 8.6 million subscribers.
    • Intelsat, Ltd. in the negotiation of a procurement contract with Boeing for the purchase of four telecommunications satellites.
    • Mitel Networks Corporation, an Ottawa-based, Nasdaq-listed unified communications company focused on enterprise customers, in its approximately $1.96 billion acquisition of Polycom, a California-based developer of video, voice and content collaboration and communication technology.
    • Oaktree Capital Management LP in its $1.09 billion sale of more than 2,300 tower sites in the U.S. and Central America by its portfolio company, Mobilitie Investments, to SBA Communications Corp.

© 2019 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Privacy Policy