Debevoise, Olswang land BBC’s JV sale to Discovery

Debevoise & Plimpton and Olswang have secured the key mandates on the sale of BBC Worldwide’s 50 per cent interest in its global TV joint venture (JV), ­incorporating the channels Animal Planet and Liv, to Discovery Communications.

The transaction comes alongside a co-production arrangement between the broadcasters. The relationship has produced series such as Life, Planet Earth and Blue Planet.

Olswang acted for ­longstanding client BBC Worldwide on the deal, with IP partner Selina Potter and corporate partner Simon Morgan leading. Corporate partner Paul Guite and tax partner Mark Joscelyne were also involved on the $156m (£97.9m) transaction.

Morgan acted primarily on the sale of his client’s half of the JV, while Potter focused on the co-­production arrangement. Potter also acted on the establishment of the JV in 1998.

Latham & Watkins also acted for BBC Worldwide on the US aspects of the deal, with Washington DC-based partners Joe Sullivan (tax) and John Janka (antitrust) leading.

Debevoise took the ­mandate for Discovery, led by New York corporate ­counsel Michael Devins and New York corporate partner Richard Bohm.

The deal sees Discovery become sole owner of brands that reach 250 million subscribers around the world.