Copyright © Media Law International 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
The Bulgarian media market over the past year has been influenced by competition and challenged by changes to media law that compel companies to discourse their sources of funding.
Parliament passed the controversial law in November 2018, which is colloquially known as “Peevski’s law” as it was introduced by media tycoon and politician Delyan Peevski.
The government states that the law is intended to improve transparency in the media market. Industry participants have described the country as non-transparent and one that suffers from political pressure and control.
Harlem Desir, Representative of The Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, said: “This practice, when applied, could seriously restrict public access to diverse sources of information, the plurality of voices, and erode the right of freedom of expression and information online.”
In other developments, the country‘s anti-monopoly regulator blocked the sale of Modern Times Group (MTG)’s Nova Broadcasting to investment company
PPF Group. The Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition rejected the acquisition in July 2018 on the grounds that the EUR185 million deal would limit competition and give the media conglomerate a competitive advantage.
In a statement, MTG commented: ‘MTG is surprised by the decision and will review it further before deciding on the next steps to be taken’. In January 2019, MTG announced it cancelled its agreement to sell Nova Broadcasting.
Violetta P Kunze, Partner at DGKV, commented on anticipated trends for the year ahead. She said: “I am convinced that it is inevitable that the high-speed digital development will enormously speed up the market of digital media services in 2019 that will affect every business sector.”
One of the largest firms in Bulgaria, Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov is widely described by peers as one of the most prominent. The full service firm is known for its transactional work in the TMT sector and advice to entertainment and sports clients. Lawyers have particular experience advising cable broadcasters, film producers, advertisers and publishers in the area of financing, rights acquisition and regulation.
has a reputation for excellence in the area of privacy and personal data protection. Lawyers, who clients describe as “extremely competent and very responsive”, advise on cross-border compliance, corporate restructurings and e-commerce. Under the leadership of Hristo Nihrizov the firm acted for an international television broadcaster on matters including privacy policies, compliance, licensing and content requirements. Lawyers also represent clients with success before the local media regulation authority.
has developed an established position in the market and is rising as one of the region’s most widely respected practices. Founding partner Stefan Gugushev has exceptional experience advising a broad range of clients and leads the team in its advice on broadcasting, programming and regulation. Working with peers, leading lawyer Petko Angelov advises on advertising, sponsorship and licensing matters.
Established in 1988, Kambourov & Partners has a long-standing presence in Bulgaria and equal focus on the TMT sector. Mitko Karushkov manages the team which is notably known for its work on large scale corporate structuring of radio and television operators and structuring of products and services. The firm also has a significant number of instructions from media and entertainment clients including motion picture producers, television companies, theatre and publishing companies.
Andrey Delchev & Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria affirms its position in the legal market with a steady influx of corporate instructions from media clients that include television and radio operators. The team advises on licensing, distribution and regulation. Severina Liubenova manages the media group, which acts for newspapers and other printed publications, advertising agencies and website operators.
Arsov Natchev Ganeva’s specialisation in media and sports is local and global. Lawyers act for foreign media companies acquiring local media entities, advise on licensing and administrative procedures and represent clients in cases of intellectual property. The team assisted entrepreneurs with establishing and acquiring sports clubs in Bulgaria while ensuring compliance.
Boyanov & Co has a prominent reputation and is known by peers for its expansive client portfolio. The firm focusses on media and telecommunications with advice to broadcasters ranging from regulatory and licensing to bids and auctions. Leading practitioners include and who advise on complex due diligence connected with mergers and acquisitions.
BWSP Ilieva, Voutcheva & Co has a background in media work that includes the establishment of a crowd-funding scheme for feature film production. The firm acts for multiple clients on film and video production, financing and distribution of media products and newspaper and magazine publishing. Lawyers also advise on cross-media ownership, interactive media and copyrights issues.
With a media and advertising specialisation, Kalaidjiev & Georgiev advises on the issuance of licences for telecommunication activities, broadcasting and television production. The firm’s media lawyers draft agreements for advertising campaigns and media planning. Lawyers also litigate in cases connected with copyright and related rights.
CMS is one of the few international firms that has established a strong position in the legal market. The firm’s technology, media and communications group works across a number of jurisdictions on substantial transactions advising broadcast clients. Working in collaboration with the commercial team, media lawyers assist with distribution agreements, commercial contracts and data protection.
Popov & partners regularly assists broadcasters with registration, programming and distribution agreements. Led by managing partner Emiliyan Lubomirov Arnaudov, the team advised a pay-television operator on distribution rights, rights holders on copyright levy and advertising industry clients. Angel Stefanov Buzalov is among key practitioners highlighted by competitors.
The primary focus at Borissov & Partners is on intellectual property, telecoms and technology - from which media and entertainment cases stem. The firm works on a range of matters from franchising, licensing and dispute resolution to advice on radio frequency spectrum and geo-stationary orbit. Managing partner Plamen M. Borissov leads the practice, specialising in media and neighbouring segments.
Combining transactional and commercial expertise, Penev advises on cross-border cases, regulatory compliance and lobbying. The TMT group also assists with data protection, privacy and licensing. In highlighted work the firm advised a leading US radio broadcasting company on an acquisition deal in Bulgaria. The firm is also appointed by internet and e-commerce companies.
Mandzhukova, Shopov, Petrov Law Firm acts for TMT clients from publishing and online segments. The full service practice is managed by Asya Mandzhukova, Milen Shopov and Roumen Petrov who are established practitioners in the local legal market. The team runs an advisory and transactional practice that also works with clients form the entertainment sector.
Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners focusses on data protection and copyright. The team drafts licensing and transfer agreements, advises on mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructuring. Lawyers also assist with data protection compliance and represent clients before the courts.
Ranking and editorials
Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov
Kambourov & Partners
Andrey Delchev & Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria
Arsov Natchev Ganeva
Boyanov & Co
BWSP Ilieva Voutcheva & Co
Georgiev, Todorov & Co
Kalaidjiev & Georgiev
Penkov, Markov & Partners
Velchev & Co. Law Office
Borissov & Partners
Tocheva & Mandazhieva Law Office
Kolcheva, Smilenov, Koev & Partners - Novel Consult
Mandzhukova, Shopov, Petrov
Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski
RANKING AND EDITORIALS