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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

BELGIUM

Media consolidation continues to be

a core area of focus for media companies

as the market prepares for Liberty Global’s takeover of De Vijver Media.


In November 2018, the European Commission

said the deal will be examined by Belgium’s competition authority due to its potential impact on the local market.


Liberty Global sought EU approval for the acquisition in October. Its Belgium subsidiary, Telenet, operates a cable network and several pay-television channels.


Commenting on media market activity, Flip Petillion, Founding Partner of Petillion, said:

“There is a growing trend of convergence and consolidation in the Belgian telecom and media markets.”


He continued: “Network operators and content providers aim to achieve economies of scale and scope in addition to other strategic advantages through mergers, acquisitions or partnerships.”


In June 2018, Liberty Global highlighted its expansion plans by presenting a non-binding offer to acquire the Brussels’ cable operator Brutélé.


Commenting on this transaction, Mr Petillion

said: “This resulted in Telenet evolving from an ISP, telephone operator and television distributor to


a  telecom and broadcasting company controlling almost all levels of the telecom and media

supply chain.”


Two years earlier, Telnet acquired Belgian mobile network operator KPN’s Base for EUR1.3 billion.


Lawyers say that broadcasters and OTT service providers have an increasing tendency to cut out intermediaries in the production and delivery of content. Instead, they are opting to manage creation, production and broadcasting of the content themselves.


Other developments include the increased consideration for the protection of privacy and personal data, say lawyers.


Mr Petillion explained: “In particular, the introduction of the GDPR on 25 May has caused press, digital content and service providers, broadcasters, network operators and other intermediaries in the telecom and media supply chain to implement policies and procedures to comply with their respective data protection obligations.”

TIER 1

Altius combines media and intellectual property with its emphasis on entertainment segments. The team advises on television and filmed entertainment, games and music. Team leader Paul Maeyaert manages the group, which works on wide-ranging cases involving pre-publication advice and clearance, licensing agreements and rights disputes.  


Crowell & Moring is highly reputed for its leading focus on all segments of media and technology. In addition to traditional areas of advice, the team works on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and financing transactions. The litigation team advises on antitrust regulation, privacy and data collection rights.


Focussed on copyright and media, Hoyng Rokh Monegier lawyers litigate on behalf of rights holders in high profile cases. Working with publishers, broadcasters, artists and producers the team advises on local and cross-border issues and negotiates complex agreements. Fabienne Brison manages the team that also advises on regulatory frameworks.


TIER 2

Fieldfisher acts for independent film producers and distributors in copyright disputes and negotiates media-related agreements. The practice advises providers of audio-visual content, advertisers and communications agencies. Head of division Stijn Debaene works closely with Pierre-Philippe Hendrickx, who has extensive experience advising on film and sports law.


Clients appoint Koan Law Firm on account of its “quality, efficiency and correct remuneration”. The team is “always on track and always on time”. The firm’s emphasis on media is matched by a specialisation in advertising and copyright law. Department leaders Christine De Keersmaeker and Agnès Maqua manage the media, technology and IP team. Both partners are credited with having exceptional experience working with clients from the press, cinema and audio-visual production sectors. Other areas of focus include film financing and product placement.  


With combined focus on media, IP and IT Marx Van Ranst Vermeersch & Partners adopts a multidisciplinary approach to sector-related work. Core areas of competence include television, motion pictures, music, advertising and sports. The team includes litigation and arbitration specialist Eric Laevens and routinely advises on the protection of creative works, licensing of technology, computer software, multimedia and telecommunications.


TIER 3

CMS’ work includes commercial and corporate matters connected with media sector activity. Managing partner Tom Heremans leads the intellectual property team advising on privacy, distribution law and commercial litigation. Lawyers also assist broadcasters and satellite operators with regulatory and licensing matters. Other clients include e-commerce companies and international football organisations.


The media team at & De Bandt advises on television formats, privacy, freedom of the press and liability for publication. Lawyers negotiate international entertainment contracts, assist with litigation before the courts and advise on competition law. Key practitioner Jeff Keustermans leads the firm’s commercial focus and handles national and international business litigation. The practice has two decades of experience representing television stations, musicians, publishers and artists.


NautaDutilh works on industry-related commercial and regulatory matters. Media specialist Philippe Péters has significant experience advising on copyright and IT matters. Other areas of focus include litigation and arbitration. The firm’s clients include Warner Bros., Coca Cola and NOS.


TIER 4

Sports and entertainment work dominate activity at Hunton & Williams. The media team advises on sport-related joint venture arrangements, intellectual property filings and sanctioning body regulations. The media practice group is managed by Melanie Fitzgerald, who is recognised for her cross-sector focus.  



Ranking and editorials

TIER 1

Altius

Crowell & Moring

Hoyng Rokh Monegier


TIER 2

Allen & Overy

Bird & Bird

Fieldfisher

Koan Law Firm

Marx Van Ranst Vermeersch & Partners


TIER 3

CMS

DLA Piper

& De Bandt

Petillion

NautaDutilh


TIER 4

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Hunton & Williams

Monard Law

time.lex

Van Innis & Delarue




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