Last month, Skadden represented Beaverton, Oregon-based Nikewhich earlier this year announced plans to scale back its product offeringson the $225 million sale of its Umbro soccer brand to the New York-based Iconix Brand Group. Skadden's King, who heads the firm's Palo Alto office, also took the lead for Nike on that deal, according to British publication Legal Week.
Nike general counsel Hilary Krane started her legal career at Skadden before become the company's top in-house lawyer in 2010, according to sibling publication Corporate Counsel.
Skadden is also serving as real estate investment trust tax counsel to Penn National Gaming, which announced this week a plan to separate its real estate and gaming assets into two publicly traded companies. Penn owns and operates about 30 casinos, racetracks, and other gaming facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Skadden tax cohead Fred Goldberg, Jr., tax partner John Rayis, M&A partner John Rayis, and restructuring partner Evan Levy are leading a team from the firm representing the Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based company on the planned split, which The Wall Street Journal reports could help Penn trim $160 million from its U.S. tax bill. Jordan Savitch serves as Penn's general counsel, while Harold Cramer, a retired partner at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, is a member of Penn's board of directors.
Elsewhere on the gaming front, former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, a longtime gambling advocate who rejoined Ballard Spahr in 2011, spoke to a group in Baltimore this week on the heels of Maryland voters approving a plan to expand gaming operations in the state. The increased prevalence of legalized gambling at the state level has drawn the ire of groups like the NCAA, which last month said it would relocate six championships from New Jersey because of new laws allowing betting on collegiate and professional games in the Garden State.
Yankees Seek Sale of Minority Stake in TV Network
MLB's New York Yankees are reportedly in the final stages of selling a minority stake in cable channel the YES Network to News Corporation, according to The New York Times.
Forbes reports that the proposed sale values YES, which was launched in 2002 and broadcasts games for the Yankees and the National Basketball Association's Brooklyn Nets, at more than $3 billion, making it by far the most valuable regional sports network in the country.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld senior counsel Randy Levine, who serves as president of the Yankees, did not respond to a request for comment on whether the franchise has retained outside counsel for the deal. Nor did team deputy general counsel and vice president of legal affairs Alan Chang or COO Lonn Trost, a former head of the sports law practice at now-defunct New York firm Shea & Gould.
Hogan Lovells traditionally handles transactional work for News Corp. A Hogan Lovells spokesman was not able to comment on whether the firm is playing a role in either the potential YES deal or advising an investment vehicle controlled by Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire who owns the Nets, on its purchase this week of Moscow-based investment bank Renaissance Capital.
Around the Horn
Dewey & LeBoeuf may be dead, but the fees generated by the firm for its work during the Dodgers' bankruptcy remain a live issue. As noted above, the storied baseball franchise was sold out of bankruptcy in May to Guggenheim Partners for a whopping $2.15 billion. Dewey represented the team in the Chapter 11 case and worked closely with Sullivan & Cromwell on the sale to Guggenheim. A Delaware bankruptcy judge allowed Dewey to postpone its final fee request in the matter amid the firm's death spiral. This week former Dewey partners led by Bruce Bennett, who is now at Jones Day, submitted a bill seeking almost $12.5 million plus a fee enhancement of $500,000. Bennett claimed in court records last month that Dewey owed him more than $8.8 million, according to our previous reports.
ESPN broke a major story with serious legal implications Friday, reporting that a disability board staffed by the National Football League's top medical experts concluded years ago that playing the game could result in traumatic brain injuries, even as top officials denied any official link between the two. The news comes as the NFL and its lawyers from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison try to frame the concussion suits as a labor dispute, according to a report this month by sibling publication The Legal Intelligencer. Former Atlanta Falcons players involved in a separate workers' compensation suit, meanwhile, recently failed in their effort motion to move their case to California, according to sibling publication the Daily Report, which notes that King & Spalding and Akin Gump are representing defendants in the case.
Albert "Hal" Biagas has been named the new general counsel of sports and talent agency Excel Sports Management, according to the Sports Business Daily. The Am Law Daily last crossed paths with Biagas three years ago when the former deputy general counsel of the NBA players association helped the New York Knicks cut their ties to Stephon Marbury. Biagas actually met his wife in the Weil cafeteria when visiting the firm's offices a decade ago for a hearing involving another troubled star, Latrell Sprewell. Biagas left the union in 2009 to join Wasserman Media Group.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's long-threatened antitrust suit against the Bowl Championship Series is apparently never going to find its way to the end zone. Shurtleff, who is leaving office at the end of the year, recently told The Salt Lake Tribune that the case has been suspended indefinitely due to lack of evidence. Though Shurtleff's office sent requests for proposals to leading antitrust firms to gauge their interest in taking on such a suit, the BCS's decision to switch to a more inclusive college football playoff system, which we reported on earlier this year, ultimately scuttled the possibility of any legal challenge.
Cut by the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers in October, former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson received more bad news last month when a state court judge dismissed his defamation suit against Sports Illustrated over a feature story earlier this year about the schools star-crossed basketball program that portrayed him a poor light. O'Melveny & Myers trial and litigation practice chair Daniel Petrocelli successfully represented the magazine in the litigation, while Reeves was advised by Olaf Muller of local firm Fink & Steinberg.
Another collegiate basketball program that has received its fair share of unwanted publicity over the past yearso much so that Paul Weiss was brought in for an internal probegot some good news this month when federal prosecutors dropped a child sex abuse investigation into former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. Karl Sleight, cohead of the compliance and investigations practice at upstate New York firm Harris Beach, represented Fine along with partner Donald Martin and David Botsford of Austins Botsford & Roark. In May, Fine's wife Laurie and her attorneys from Cohen & Willwerth filed a defamation and libel suit against ESPN over a report on the molestation allegations. Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, a firm known for its First Amendment expertise, is representing ESPN in the litigation.
A bankruptcy judge in Fort Lauderdale has sided with a foundation created by former Miami Dolphins star and NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino by granding its motion for summary judgment in a clawback suit brought by the trustee for disgraced Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein's defunct firm Rothstein Rosefeldt Adler. The trustee's suit sought the return of $300,000 in donations, according to the DBR. Florida firms Greenspoon Marder and Berger Singerman represented the foundation and trustee, respectively.