FFW, Olswang tune in for launch of TV production joint venture

Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) and Olswang have grabbed starring roles on a tie-up between NBC ­Universal and Working Title Films to create a new ­television production ­company.
FFW advised new client NBC Universal on the deal, which saw the launch of joint venture Working Title Television (WTTV). Head of corporate Andrew Blankfield led the FFW team, with new head of media Tim Johnson also acting on ­commercial matters.

The new relationship came about after former FFW media chief Jeremy Miles left to launch the legal department at NBC ­Universal’s International Television group.

Blankfield said: “We were disappointed when Jeremy left, but now he’s turned up as a client, which is great. I’d like to think this’ll be the beginning of a long ­relationship. It validates our strategy to focus on our media practice when other firms are running theirs down.”

Olswang advised Working Title on the transaction, with corporate partner Stephen Hermer leading.

Working Title, whose film credits include Four ­Weddings and a Funeral and Bridget Jones’s Diary, will now have its international TV output distributed by NBC Universal.

“Media companies are beginning to be quite active in the M&A market, both in TV and the broader aspects so it’ll be interesting to see what ­happens next,” ­Blankfield added.

Last week, News Corp exited the last of its Eastern European broadcast companies when it sold Bulgaria’s bTV (TheLawyer.com, 22 February). Allen & Overy and Dewey & LeBoeuf acted on the sale and buy side respectively. The media giant is thought to be ­looking to invest in Middle Eastern broadcasters.