Eight firms snag roles in mega UFC sale

The $4 billion sale is the largest sports organisation deal yet and eight law firms will all play a part.

Eight law firms have secured roles in the sale of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to a group of private buyers led by WME-IMG in a widely-reported $4 billion deal that is the largest yet for the sale of a sports organization.

The law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has sent out a statement on its lead role in the sale. The firms Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Proskauer Rose LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP have been identified as involved in the deal in the press release sent out by WME-IMG.

Meanwhile, a report from The American Lawyer also noted that the firms Dickinson Wright PLLC and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP are currently working with the UFC.

Milbank said that it advised casino magnates Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who own majority of the UFC through Zuffa, LLC, in the deal. Milbank advised the Fertittas when they bought the UFC in 2001 for $2 million.

Milbank corporate partners Ken Baronsky and Adam Moses led the Milbank team advising Zuffa and the selling owners. Also included in the Milbank team are corporate and finance attorneys Deborah Conrad, David Isenberg, Mark Castiglia, Jack Goodfriend and Mark Vible; tax attorneys Russ Kestenbaum and Max Goodman; employee benefits attorneys Mike Shah and James Beebe; and antitrust attorney Fiona Schaeffer.

The other law firms which have secured roles in the deal advised WME-IMG and its private equity backers Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co LP, Silver Lake Partners LP and tech billionaire Michael Dell’s MSD Capital LP.

The law firm Paul, Weiss advised the WME-IMG team in the deal. Its team included corporate partners Justin Hamill, Chuck Googe and Jeanette Chan and counsel Marta Kelly and Corinna Yu; tax partners Jeffrey Samuels and David Mayo; litigation partners Lynn Bayard, Aidan Synnott and Les Fagen and counsel Daniel Crane; real estate partner Salvatore Gogliormella; environmental counsel William O'Brien; and employee benefits partner Lawrence Witdorchic.

Meanwhile, the firms Kirkland & Ellis and Proskauer Rose advised KKR in their strategic investment in the UFC. The Kirkland team advising KKR was led by corporate partners Sean Rodgers and Ravi Agarwal; tax partners Mike Beinus, Sara Zablotney and Ben Schreiner; executive compensation partner Scott Price; debt finance partners Linda Myers, Melissa Hutson, David Nemecek and Brian Ford; and capital markets partners Dennis Myers and Robert Goedert.

According to The American Lawyer, the Proskauer Rose team is led by chairman Joseph Leccese. The team includes corporate partner Jonathan Benloulou and associates Andrew Nightingale and Krista Whitaker.

Simpson Thacher counseled Silver Lake in the deal and its attorneys working on the transaction include M&A partner Atif Azher and associates Dena Acevedo and Andrew Simon-Rooke; Credit partner Jen Hobbs and associates Adam Shapiro and Katherine Chen; Capital Markets partner Ken Wallach and associate Hui Lin; Preferred Financing partner Dan Webb, associate Colin Lloyd and Andy Roy; and Tax partner Katharine Moir, counsel Jason Vollbracht and associate Tanvi Mirani.

Meanwhile, Freshfields advised Dell’s MSD Capital and MSD Partners. Their team comprised of corporate partners Mitchell Presser and Doug Bacon, tax partner Robert Scarborough, finance partner David Almroth and senior associates Dennis Caracristi, Paul Humphreys and Kyle Lakin.
Dickinson Wright works on Zuffa’s UFC-related intellectual property work while Davis Polk & Wardwell is serving as antitrust counsel to the UFC, The American Lawyer noted.

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