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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
Frequently described as a challenged sector, print media is set to undergo one of the most significant consolidations that brings together two of the country’s leading daily newspapers.
La Repubblica and La Stampa will merge editorial groups in a transaction between Fiat Chrysler and CIR Holding that will lead to joint production of the third and fourth best-selling newspapers, which will keep their titles.
According to a statement by CIR Holding on 02 March, the deal will create ‘a leading European group in the daily and digital information industry’ and will be completed in June.
Italy’s media sector is often described as rich and complex and while consolidation peaks the industry is diversifying.
Commenting on market expansion, Ernesto Apa at Portolano Cavallo Studio said: “We expect there will be more M&A deals and the acquisition of LCN positions. The launch of VOD platforms is another issue. Netflix announced it will launch in Italy and there is a lot of interest in this launch which happened in October.”
Logical channel position (LCN), quadruple play and audience data are core focus areas in the continued process of technological convergence.
Giangiacomo Olivi at DLA Piper explained: “If we go back to traditional media there will likely be new entrants in the digital terrestrial market. There is still a lot of movement from companies wanting to acquire the most important channel numbering position. It is expected there will be higher market pick up again.”
Mr Olivi added: “It’s also becoming more and more important to have quadruple play offer so telco operators are also becoming content providers.”
Lawyers say during 2015 there was a moderate increase of international transactions with clients interested in acquisitions, distribution and new business in Italy.
Highlighting important trends for the year ahead, Paolo Bertoni at Chiomenti points to continued convergence.
He noted: “Topics like native advertising and branded content will become increasingly important in the future because publishers are realising that is necessary to regain momentum as far as advertising revenues are concerned.”
Giangiacomo Olivi is recognised internationally for his extensive knowledge and experience. Another client noted: “The reputation and expertise of DLA Piper and their partner Giangiacomo Olivi in the media and broadcasting field played a large part in the selection of DLA Piper.” The team advises extensively on mergers and acquisitions, licensing agreements, on-demand content transmission deals and audio-visual production.
Media work at Hogan Lovells is handled by head of division Giovanni Ghirardi, whose specialisation includes litigation. Sabrina Borocci also advises on TMT matters with a focus on antitrust matters at a compliance and litigation level. The team represents press publishers and broadcasters on regulation, distribution, franchising, unfair competition and copyright matters. The firm’s international focus on media and entertainment makes it a popular choice among local and global clients.
Bird & Bird specialises in TMT and IP matters. Co-managed by Massimiliano Mostardini and Giovanni Galimberti, the practice is recognised for its historic strength in technology and communications. Lawyers provide transactional support in the exploitation of rights, advice on data and privacy issues, content distribution and regulation. Other areas of expertise include sector-related tax, acquisitions and competition.
Media lawyers at Working with Roberta Mollica, head of the media department Luca Arnaboldi advises on broadcasting and programming regulatory frameworks, convergence of media and network technologies and commercial contracts.
With an international focus on media and advertising, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is recognised as a leading firm for all matters connected with television, radio and publishing sectors. The practice is distinguished for its expertise in antitrust, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and sales of programming distribution rights.
International firm Ponti - De Sanctis & Partners is highlighted by competitors as a “super leader for cinema.” The firm acts for entertainment and new technologies companies on film and television financing, production and distribution, multimedia, music recording and publishing. The team also specialises in copyright, assisting with rights management, stage rights licensing and talent representation.
Chiomenti Studio Legale has exceptional transactional experience acting for media clients including some of the largest commercial broadcasters. Paolo Bertoni manages the TMT practice which represents operators in the administrative and judicial courts, assists with regulatory matters and advises on the structuring of products and services. One broadcast clients commented: “Both senior and junior associates proved to have the required expertise. They are very strong in corporate law, M&A and antitrust.”
Cugia Cuomo & Associati is well regarded by its clients who say, “Work was conducted against very challenging time scales. The firm produced detailed and clearly considered results to meet the deadlines set.” Fabrizio Cugia di Sant’Orsola manages the TMT group which is active in regulatory matters, data protection and entertainment. Another client highlighted: “The complexity and innovative features of the issues under review meant it would have been very difficult for a general commercial law firm to have supported this work. We felt confident from the written advice provided and related discussions that the lawyers advising had a strong underlying knowledge of and experience”.
Giorgio Mondini, the team assists clients from the music, cinema, home video and publishing industries in litigation and non-judicial matters. Giacomo Bonelli, who also specialises in IP, is among the firm’s key practitioners.
Tonucci & Partners focusses on the broadcasting sector and has notable expertise in this area. The firm’s work ranges from advice on film and television production and distribution to stage productions and publishing. Managed by Mauro Baldissoni and Alessandro Vasta, the TMT group also assists with the exploitation of all types of IP rights, online gaming and e-commerce.
Media lawyers at BonelliErede have rigorous experience drafting contracts for convergence projects with mobile networks for digital television, outsourcing digital broadcasting networks and advising on the creation and operation of national digital broadcasting networks. The firm’s key practitioners Eliana Catalano and Tommaso Faelli also advise film, music and print companies.
As noted by one client, “Gallavotti Bernardini & Partners has prominent experience in the audio-visual and theatrical industries”. Clients also praise the firm’s co-heads of practice, highlighting: “Mario Gallavotti has a long-standing industry experience and Antonio Bernardinihas has a deep understanding and practice of international acquisitions and rights exploitation.” In representative work the firm acted for Turner’s group companies, part of Time Warner Group, on mergers and acquisitions, business development transactions, contractual and regulatory matters.
Data protection, IT and IP segments drive media activity at Macchi di Cellere Gangemi. Work involves all aspects of privacy and data protection connected with the establishment and operation of websites in Italy. Lawyers also draft privacy policies and advise on data acquisition. The team, which includes Stefano Bartoli and Simone Gumbuto, works with entertainment sector clients on copyright matters and neighbouring rights.
Vittorio Noseda’s TMT practice also works with producers of video games and advises on corporate transactions that include joint ventures.
Studio Legale Sutti focusses on advertising, copyright and competition. Head of department Simona Cazzaniga leads the team in its handling of contentious and non-contentious cases. Lawyers advise on licensing, unfair competition, antitrust, distribution and franchising. Litigation and arbitration are also among the firm’s key areas of practice.
Legance provides specialist advice on competition matters connected with traditional media and the internet, before national and EU regulators. TMT lawyers, including Gilberto Nava and Valerio Mosca, advise on contractual matters, data protection and regulation. The team also drafts and negotiates agreements for the supply and management of communications services. Other areas of focus include corporate transactions that include mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs and capital increase.
Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati’s work involves assistance with applications for licenses and authorisations for television broadcasting. With notable expertise in audio-visual law, the team’s work is wide-ranging and includes advice on contracts relating to financing, production, distribution of films and television programmes - and related tax incentives. Lawyers also advise on compliance and regulation.
Boutique firm Studio Ubertazzi focusses on IP and advertising. Co-founder Luigi Carlo Ubertazzi leads the firm with a specialisation in related laws and unfair competition. The practice is described as active in the local legal market with a respectable portfolio that includes clients from the entertainment industry - domestic and foreign.
Valli Mancuso & Associati acts for several foreign and local broadcasters. Lawyers assist free-to-air and pay-television companies with content acquisitions through purchase and license agreements. Led by joint founders Andrea Valli and Marcello Mancuso, the team also represents sports clients on FIFA and the Italian football league on their trading of television, internet and radio rights.
Ranking and editorials
Bird & Bird
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Ponti - De Sanctis & Partners
Baker & McKenzie
Chiomenti Studio Legale
Cugia Cuomo & Associati
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Tonucci & Partners
CMS Adonnino Ascoli & Cavasola Scamoni
Gallavotti Bernardini & Partners
Macchi di Cellere Gangemi
Studio Legale Sutti
Libertini Mario Studio Legale
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati
Valli Mancuso & Associati
RANKING AND EDITORIALS