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Mouse grabs a Fox: Global 100 firms take centre stage as Murdoch sells empire to Disney for $52.4bn

A raft of transatlantic firms have won roles advising on The Walt Disney Company’s $52.4bn acquisition of 21st Century Fox, including Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells.

The deal includes the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, as well as the company’s cable and international TV businesses, in addition to its 39% stake in satellite broadcaster Sky. Disney will also add 21st Century Fox’s entertainment properties such as X-Men, Avatar and The Simpsons to its portfolio.

21st Century Fox’s remaining assets, including Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group will spin-off into a new company described as ‘the new Fox’.

US firm Cravath is representing Disney on the transaction, with a team led by M&A partners Faiza Saeed and Eric Schiele alongside tax partners Stephen Gordon and Lauren Angelilli. Partner Jonathan Katz advised on executive compensation and benefits matters. Macfarlanes is offering UK corporate advice to Disney, with a team led by Graham Gibb.

21st Century Fox’s main legal advisers are Hogan Lovells, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Hogan Lovells was led by New York-based partner Ira Sheinfeild, alongside partners Amy Freed, Lillian Tsu, Keith Flaum, Alex Johnson, Martha Steinman, Phil Altman, Jeff Tolin and Joseph Rackman. Partners Patrick Ryan and Joe Kaufman led for Simpson Thacher.

Allen & Overy is representing 21st Century Fox on UK corporate and worldwide antitrust matters, excluding the US. Its team is spearheaded by the firm’s co-head of global antitrust Antonio Bavasso with fellow antitrust partner Dominic Long. On the corporate side, partners David Broadley, Seth Jones and Simon Toms completed the team.

A&O has reprised its role representing longstanding client 21st Century Fox, with Bavasso, Broadley and Toms advising the media giant in December 2016 on its Sky takeover bid. Herbert Smith Freehills acted for Sky, with a team led by the firm’s head of corporate, Stephen Wilkinson.

Antitrust concerns will be critical to the Disney deal going through, with the US Department of Justice already seeking to block the AT&T and Time Warner, while in the UK the Competition & Markets Authority is investigating the Fox/Sky deal, with provisional findings expected in the New Year.