ProfessionalsT. Robert Zochowski Jr.
A partner in the Corporate Department, Bob Zochowski is co-head of the firm’s Finance Practice Group and a member of the Media, Sports & Entertainment Group. He is recognized as one of the leading securitization lawyers in the country by Chambers USA and The Legal 500, and has also been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Securitization and Structured Finance Law (New York City) since 2013.
Bob has 30 years of experience as a financing lawyer, focusing on innovative and specialized finance structures. His expertise spans unique securitizations involving esoteric assets, such as films, patent royalties, power plants and hydrocarbon reserves to project financings and other traditional financings. He advises a diverse range of clients, including public and private companies, financial institutions and investment funds. Bob has extensive experience across a broad array of industries, including energy/infrastructure, media and entertainment, restaurants and technology.
Since 2015, Bob was ranked in Chambers Global for Capital Markets: Securitisation. He is described as “highly sought after by clients for his skill in film portfolio securitisations” and generally as “very fine and effective lawyer.”
Some of his recent representations include:
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT TRANSACTIONS:
- A group of investors in a $350 million note issuance placed by a top-tier investment bank and secured by revenues arising from a portfolio of motion pictures produced and distributed by a major film studio.
- AIG as investor in notes issued by Larry Levinson Productions to finance made-for-television movies.
- Ambac Assurance in:
- numerous film securitizations and financings exceeding $3 billion for Marvel Studios, The Weinstein Company, Universal Studios and Dreamworks; and
- a $300 million TV syndication revenue securitization supported by classic television sitcoms.
- Citibank in the non-recourse financings of a $1.2 billion portfolio of common and preferred stock, a $1 billion portfolio of convertible preferred stock and $1 billion securitizations of U.S. and foreign motion picture receivables for each of Twentieth Century Fox and Universal Studios.
- Citigroup in its $555 million “Beverly One” slate financing for Relativity Media and Sony Pictures.
- Credit Suisse First Boston as arranger in a $500 million financing for Walt Disney Studios.
- dick clark productions in the $300 million securitization of event television production contracts.
- Endeavor in connection with their entertainment asset financing.
- Endemol Shine Group in a $70 million revolving securitization backed primarily by TV distribution receivables, to be used initially to fund working capital and designed to be used for TV production financing in the future.
- The financial guarantor in a securitization of talent agency commissions.
- Goldman Sachs as:
- investor in $750 million of structured debt supported by television series revenues; and
- placement agent of senior and subordinated debt and equity in the Asian Film fund managed by the Weinstein Company.
- The initial purchasers in structuring and placing $550 million of asset-backed notes issued by Miramax and supported by revenues from a library of 700+ films and the subsequent $275 million refinancing.
- Legendary Pictures Funding, LLC in its $1 billion asset-backed term loan facility in connection with the refinancing of existing indebtedness.
- Lehman Brothers in a $300 million revolving and term debt facility for Alcon Entertainment’s film production.
- Paramount Pictures in its Melrose I, Melrose II and Vantage film slate financings.
- Senior debt investors in a $100 million structured term debt facility secured by performing rights agency commissions.
- Untypical Films LLC in its $100 million senior secured revolving credit facility in connection with the refinancing of existing indebtedness.
- VICE Media in connection with the upsizing of its senior secured asset-backed credit facilities.
- Warner Bros. in its $450 million film co-financing agreement with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, a newly formed partnership between by Dune's Steven Mnuchin, filmmaker Brett Ratner and Australian investor James Packer, to fund a Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema movie slate of up to 75 titles.
WHOLE-BUSINESS STRUCTURED FINANCINGS:
- CKE Restaurants in:
- the issuance of $1.15 billion of bonds backed by its franchise royalties and company owned stores; and
- its second whole-business securitization, backed by domestic and international franchise agreements along with royalties from real estate, franchisee license, IP and cash flow from some corporate-owned franchises, and co-issued by Hardee’s Funding LLC and Carl’s Jr. Funding LLC.
- Guggenheim Partners in a $155 million partial refinancing securitization of Sonic Capital LLC and its affiliates.
- Orangetheory Fitness, a franchisor of HIIT studios, in a private placement of whole-business structured finance notes.
- Roark Capital Group, a private equity firm, in multiple whole-business financings for its portfolio companies.
- UBS Securities as underwriter in the $355 million securitized acquisition financing by Aurora Capital of NuCO2 Inc. and Goldman Sachs as placement agent of an additional $40 million offering by NuCO2.
- and its affiliates in the liquidation of the “Rawhide” transaction and other matters associated with the Enron bankruptcy;
- in financings of portfolios of U.S. power plants, natural gas pipelines, gas liquification facilities and other energy assets aggregating $2.5 billion; and
- in the structuring and arranging of a £1 billion of structured equity and debt project financing.
- Credit Suisse First Boston, WestLB, CIBC and Citibank in a structured equity financing of a $2.4 billion portfolio of interests in infrastructure projects throughout the world.
- Nomura Corporate Funding Americas LLC on a revolving warehouse credit facility to a special purpose bankruptcy remote subsidiary of a major renewable energy infrastructure investor supported by a borrowing base of commercial property-assessed clean energy bonds (C-PACE bonds) and related tax assessments.
SPECIAL/UNIQUE SITUATIONS TRANSACTIONS:
- Apollo Capital Management in its agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group of institutions, to create a joint venture platform to invest up to $1 billion in portfolios of sub- and non-performing consumer, auto and housing loans in various developing countries.
- Funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management LLC in the $2.2 billion senior secured credit facilities in connection with the acquisition of Diamond Resorts International, Inc.
- Bain Capital in its structured equity and debt financing in connection with a joint venture with Antares Capital to provide private equity sponsors and borrowers with access to first lien unitranche loans of up to $350 million dollars.
- Centerbridge Partners, L.P. and Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. in connection with a term loan and stock purchase to recapitalize Billabong International Limited.
- Diamond Resorts International, Inc. in:
- three separate warehouse credit facilities with each of Deutsche Bank ($250 million), Wells Fargo ($75 million) and Natixis ($100 million). Each facility finances a special purpose, bankruptcy remote subsidiary of Diamond and secured by a revolving portfolio of eligible timeshare loans; and
- in multiple securitizations, including in connection with the issuance of $258 million of asset-backed securities, Series 2017-1; and in connection with the issuance of $400 million of asset-backed securities, Series 2018-1.
- Highbridge Capital in Digital Cinema Implementation Partners’ $660 million transaction to finance the acquisition and installation of digital cinema projectors and related equipment in approximately 15,000 movie theater screens across the United States and Canada supported by exhibition payments from film studios.
- MidCap Financial in:
- the acquisition financing of $3.6 billion of loans managed by Mubadala GE Capital, a JV lending business between General Electric Capital Corporation and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company, adapting traditional loan securitization warehouse financing to the needs for certainty and low-execution risk demanded of acquisition financing; and
- the negotiation and closing of a $300 million warehousing credit facility supported by a borrowing base of eligible middle market loans.
- Soros Fund Management in its investment in Quattro Consultoria em Telecomunicações, a wireless broadband network provider in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The investment represented Soros’ initial entry into a growing market in Brazil.
- KKR in a financing supported by intellectual property royalties generated by Aimmune Therapeutics.
- Symphony Capital, a private equity fund, in phase I and II pharmaceutical research and development joint ventures.
- the S. Department of Energy as lender in connection with its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program.
Bob was appointed to the Board of Regents of Georgetown University in 2014. Bob served as co-chair of the Esoteric Assets subcommittee of the Structured Finance Industry Group in 2015 and 2016.
Bob received his B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1986 and his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1989, where he was an articles editor of the New York University Law Review.