New Deals

Lawyers on Major Transactions

, New York Law Journal


Latham, Paul Weiss Represent Deal for Elvis and Muhammad Ali Rights

— by Brian Baxter

Consumer marketing and branding company Authentic Brands Group (ABG) has acquired the licensing rights to Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali from Core Media Group.

Though the sum paid by ABG to acquire both properties was not disclosed, the New York Post reported that the price tag for the Presley rights alone is thought to be as much as $125 million. ABG is backed by Los Angeles-based private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is advising Core Media through partner James Schwab, who chairs the firm's media and entertainment group, along with corporate associates D. Branch Furtado and Michael Vogel. All are in New York.

Core Media's general counsel is Paul Weiss alum Peter Hurwitz.

Howard Sobel, cochair of Latham & Watkins' U.S. private equity group, is taking the lead for the company on its acquisition along with M&A partner Paul Kukish. Other Latham lawyers are finance partner Joshua Tinkelman, IP partner Jeffrey Tochner, antitrust partner Bradd Williamson, and environmental counsel David Langer. Associates are Colin Bumby, corporate; Lori Goodman, tax; Jeremy Kimball and Alex Schwartz. All are in New York. Also working on the deal are tax partner Joseph Kronsnobl and associate Patty Liu in Chicago; antitrust counsel Sydney Smith in Washington; and banking associate Benjamin Thompson in London.

Terri DiPaolo serves as general counsel for ABG.

ABG is teaming up on the deal with Joel Weinshanker, chairman and founder of the National Entertainment Collectibles Association. Once the deal closes, ABG will partner with NECA to own and manage the intellectual property of Ali and Presley, in conjunction with their respective families.

Cooley partners Cathy Hershcopf, corporate restructuring and banking; Janet Cullum, IP; and Jeremy Naylor, tax, are advising NECA. All are in New York.

Among other things, the Presley purchase gives ABG and NECA the right to operate Graceland, the Memphis mansion where Presley lived and died that draws more than 600,000 visitors a year.


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