Clifford Chance and Hogan Lovells won lead roles advising AMC Networks on its €750m (£467.4m) acquisition of the international content division of Liberty Global, known as Chellomedia.
The purchase by AMC Networks – home to hit shows Breaking Bad, Mad Men and The Walking Dead – provides it with 68 new television channels that are distributed to more than 390 million households in 138 different countries. The deal will allow AMC to distribute its original programming across the globe.
Clifford Chance advised longstanding client AMC Networks on the transaction, which it said was particularly labour-intensive. “I’ve lost count of the number of partners involved,” said media head Daniel Sandelson, who co-led on the deal. “We must’ve had 80 to 100 lawyers working on this.”
The Clifford Chance team was based in London, but also heavily utilised lawyers in New York, Amsterdam and Moscow, as well as in the Czech Republic and Spain.
Sandelson said: “It’s very unusual for a TV business to be this widely dispersed. It involved recognising regulations in a variety of different jurisdictions. The sheer number of territories involved made this a bigger than normal task.”
“Just watch Breaking Bad,” he continued. ”AMC is an incredible company as they’re so creative and have so many original shows. They’re great people to work with.”
Sandelson was joined leading the corporate side of the deal by Ben Sibbett in New York. Clifford Chance’s tax team was led by Nick Mace in London and Philip Wagman in New York.
Hogan Lovells advised existing client Liberty Global on the sale-side, led by corporate of counsel Keith Woodhouse and the firm’s co-head of private equity Alan Greenough. Both are based in London.
The firm has previously advised Liberty Global – the world’s largest international cable company – on the European competition, pensions and employee share plan aspects of its $24bn (£14.96bn) takeover of Virgin Media in February (6 February 2013). It was also instructed by Chellomedia to advise on the acquisition of MGM Networks from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in August 2012.