The Berlin office of Hogan & Hartson has had a hand in one of Germany’s highest profile deals this year thanks to a conflict at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Hogan acted for US entrepreneur Haim Saban on his acquisition of Kirsch Media’s multi-channel group ProSiebenSat1. The deal was part of a packaged sale by now defunct German giant Kirsch of its television stations and its valuable back catalogue.
Originally Kirsch planned to sell to Bauer Publishing, but the deal fell through and Kirsch agreed to a packaged sale of both ProSieben and Kirsch’s $1.3bn (£826.8m) back catalogue to Saban.
ProSieben is a long-term client of Freshfields Munich partner Norbert Reiger, who does stock corporation law.
However, the TV company was not directly involved in its sale to Saban, which was done by way of a share purchase agreement between Saban and ProSieben’s parent company Kirsch. Kirsch was represented by insolvency specialist Gorg.
Saban turned to his usual adviser Freshfields on the connected sale of the back catalogue, with partner Klaus Beucher leading. However, the entrepreneur used Hogan on the purchase of ProSieben to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
Hogan’s referal came through New York Hogan lawyer Jay Itzkowitz, who has connections with Saban. Itzkowitz, who has held the top legal positions at Sky Global Networks and News International, was involved in Sky’s acquisition of Kirsch Pay-TV in 2000.
The deal was handled on the ground by Hogan partner Christoph Wagner, who jumped ship from Oppenhoff & Rädler in 2001 because of a conflict of interest between his main client BSkyB and other Linklaters clients.
A telecoms and media partner, Wagner took a team of more than 10 partners to Hogan, significantly raising the profile of the US firm, which has just a single German office based in Berlin.