Dewey and Bakers advise on Disney’s JV with UTH

Dewey & LeBoeuf and Baker & McKenzie have advised on Russian United TV’s (UTH) joint venture with The Walt Disney Company to launch a Disney-branded free-to-air Russian television channel in a deal worth $300m (£186m).

London-based Dewey partner Amy Comer and Moscow managing partner Brian Zimbler advised UTH. In-house counsel Matthew McGinnis and Baker & McKenzie London partner James Richards advised Disney.

Disney’s existing Russian cable channel, Seven TV, will be rebranded and operated by the joint venture. The move will see UTH become the majority shareholder, with a 51 per cent stake in Seven TV. Disney will control the remainder through a subsidiary company.

The channel, which is due to launch early next year, will broadcast Disney ­family programming as well as original Russian content.

UTH and Disney tried to complete this deal in 2008 but it proved difficult to obtain Russian regulatory approvals at the time.

“It was exciting to come back to complete it,” said Zimbler. “Having one of the top brands come to Russia is a big deal.”

According to Disney, the channel is expected to reach more than 75 per cent of the audience in Russia, some 40 million households.

The channel’s launch is subject to the satisfaction of contractual conditions.