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Deal Watch: Hogan Lovells and CC lead on AMC Networks’ $1bn buyout

Clifford Chance (CC) and Hogan Lovells have plugged into the renaissance in US television production after advising on a $1bn (€750m) buyout by US entertainment group AMC Networks of Chellomedia, the international content division of media company Liberty Global.

The acquisition announced on Monday (28 October) provides the entertainment group with 68 new television channels distributed to more than 390m households in 138 countries, and the opportunity to distribute its programming worldwide, including celebrated shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead.

CC’s TMT and tax groups worked on the deal, with City-based head of media Daniel Sandelson advising AMC Networks alongside corporate partner Ben Sibbett in New York. The firm’s tax team was led by partners Nick Mace and Philip Wagman, based in London and New York respectively.

Hogan Lovells advised Liberty Global, controlled by US tycoon John Malone, on the disposal of Chellomedia, with corporate partner Alan Greenough leading alongside corporate of counsel Keith Woodhouse in London.

Hogan Lovells had previously worked on Liberty’s European competition, pensions and employee share plan for its $24bn takeover of Virgin Media in February this year. It has also previously been retained by Chellomedia on its purchase of MGM Networks from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in August 2012.

Liberty Global, the largest cable company in Europe, will retain its Dutch premium channel business, consisting of its Film1 and Sport1 channels.

Greenough commented: ‘We are pleased to have advised on this high profile and strategically important transaction for our clients which is attractive from both a valuation and liquidity perspective. It will allow Liberty Global to simplify its business and focus on its core markets and more strategic programming opportunities.’ The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.