Our antitrust and other regulatory experience in the Media and Entertainment industry includes:

  • We were the primary antitrust counsel for the combination of Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards movie theatre chains, which together form the nation’s largest theatre chain. We secured clearance from the US Antitrust Division with no divestitures, despite the Division having in the past challenged smaller acquisitions in the same industry.
  • We represented the Sinclair Broadcast Group in securing clearance from the US Antitrust Division for a joint operating agreement between the ABC and Fox affiliates in Columbus, Ohio, which is the only joint operating agreement between two major network affiliates to survive antitrust scrutiny.
  • We represented America Online, Inc. in obtaining European clearance and coordinated global premerger notifications relating to its $156 billion merger with Time Warner.
  • In Reading International Inc. v. Oaktree Capital Management LLC, we represent the Regal Entertainment Group in litigation regarding both Sherman Act and Clayton Act claims brought by a competitor.
  • We represent AOL Time Warner subsidiaries Warner Music Group and America Online in the European Commission’s investigation of the MusicNet venture, a B2B offering turnkey digital music solutions to online distributors.
  • We represented Axel Springer AG, the leading German newspaper publisher, in two landmark cases before the Berlin Court of Appeals and the German Federal Supreme Court. In Springer/Stielke, the Federal Supreme Court clarified the degree of influence necessary to trigger the premerger notification requirement under German law. Stellenmarkt für Deutschland is a rare example of a successful challenge to the rejection of an application for exemption of a horizontal co-operation from the cartel prohibition.
  • We work with the National Advertising and Promotional Allowance Association on Robinson-Patman issues and are advising two major media conglomerates and two major newspaper groups on a variety of competition issues.
  • On behalf of three major television networks, we argued Schurz Communications, Inc. v. FCC, successfully invalidating the Commission’s "financial interest” and "syndication” rules, which had barred various ownership and other relationships between broadcasters and the owners of television programs.
  • We helped broadcasters in their successful opposition to the proposed merger of the only two Direct Broadcast Satellite companies, DirecTV and EchoStar.
  • We represent the American Legacy Foundation ("Foundation”) in a declaratory judgment action relating to the content of the Foundation’s anti-smoking advertisements. The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that was established in March 1999 as a result of the Master Settlement Agreement between a coalition of attorneys general in 46 states and five US territories and the tobacco industry, develops national programs, including advertising campaigns, that seek to reduce tobacco use.
  • We advised a leading international media and entertainment group on a wide range of media regulation issues in the context of its successful attempt to acquire control over Germany’s leading music broadcaster VIVA Media AG.
  • We advised IT and wireless companies on application and legality of national levy systems to new technologies, in particular digital music players and electronic publishing equipment.
  • We have negotiated and obtained antitrust and/or FCC clearances for dozens of radio and television station sales and acquisitions, including application of the FCC’s now controversial media ownership rules.
  • We have represented news organizations (both broadcasters and print media) in a variety of matters involving the First Amendment, the Freedom of Information Act, the laws governing the public’s right of access to judicial proceedings, and libel and privacy issues.
  • We have advised telephone companies on the FCC rules governing their use of broadband facilities to offer video programming.
  • We advised financial institutions about FCC ownership and other restrictions governing their broadcast investments.
  • Within Europe, Wilmer acts as advisor to several major media and broadcasting companies and has extensive experience in the application of EU State aid law to the media and broadcasting sectors.