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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
While distinguished for its entertainment industry, South Korea is also gaining traction for its culture of online gaming and is often referred to as the capital
Netmarble Games, South Korea's largest mobile games company, raised USD 2.3 billion in the country’s second biggest share sale. The Tencent-backed gaming firm went public in May 2017 to raise funds for M&As.
In April 2017 DoubleU Games announced it would acquire Double Down Interactive, a casino gaming company, from International Game Technology for USD 825 million. The agreement was one of the country’s largest outbound deals in the digital games sector in 2017.
Lawyers say the M&A market will continue to be active in 2018, with other developments including the expansion of new media and OTT markets.
According to market analysis by IHS Markit, ‘The rise of OTT opens up new opportunities for content producers to exploit their IPs globally outside their core TV broadcasting business. Korean producer CJ E&M’s has the ambition to expand its OTT platform TVing the globe while Watcha Play plans to launch in Japan in late 2017.’
The report continues: ‘The three leading South Korean broadcasters have agreed an exclusive deal with Hong Kong PCCW’s Viu for exclusive rights to their new programming.’
While new media growth was well represented by the launch of Netflix in 2016, lawyers say this trend has continued with the launch of Apple’s music subscription service in the same year and the launch of Nintendo’s Pokemon Go in 2017.
Highlighting other developments, practitioners say the market can expect M&A activity this year between IPTV and cable TV operators. Dong Shik Choi, Kim & Chang, noted: “We are seeing a rise in IPTV.”
He added: “IPTV is primarily operated by Korean operators and these are big players in Korea. We think we will see more mergers and acquisitions between IPTV and cable TV operators because IPTV is struggling. At the same time we think we will see cable operators divesting so we do predict more M&A activity this year.”
The team at Bae, Kim & Lee has in-depth industry knowledge. The firm’s client base includes broadcast companies, advertising and event promotion firms, sports associations and individual performers such as actors and athletes. The practice represents several Korean cable television content providers, US networks and leading sports and animated programming channels. Hoo Dong Lee and Kap-You Kim are the firm’s key practitioners who also advise on copyright, licensing and intellectual property transactions.
Media lawyers at Kim & Chang advise some of the country’s most prominent clients. The firm has an established TMT division with 20 years of sector specialisation. Lawyers act for foreign broadcasting companies, online game developers and e-commerce companies. In highlighted work, the team represented iHQ, a leading Korean entertainment company and CU Media, a broadcasting programme provider, in the largest domestic transaction involving an entertainment content producer and a broadcast channel programme provider.
Hwang Mok Park’s entertainment, e-commerce and communications division assists with regulatory matters, corporate transactions and litigation. Lawyers advise on sponsorship contracts in the sports and entertainment industry and negotiate copyright agreements. The firm is also involved in legislative amendments of the broadcasting act.
Lee & Ko has two decades of industry specialisation coupled with in-depth coverage of cases connected with satellite broadcasting, online gaming and c-ecommerce. Department leader has exceptional experience assisting clients with online regulatory issues such as privacy and advertisement. Mr Park is also an experienced litigator assisting with cases of ground-wave re-transmission between cable television companies and ground-wave broadcasting companies.
Yulchon acts for local and international clients from media and communications sectors. Lawyers advise on regulation and disputes regarding multi-channel pay-television platforms such as IPTV and satellite broadcasting. Other work relates to disputes and litigation between media and telecommunication corporations. Key practitioner Doil Son, who formerly served as a district court judge, focusses on mergers and acquisitions, data privacy and cyber security.
Copyright specialist Barun Law handles management and licensing of copyrights and related disputes. Lawyers act for entertainment and sports companies on diverse intellectual property matters. The practice brings together a range of service areas to provide extensive coverage of cases that involve antitrust, litigation and product liability.
With a broadcasting focus, Shin & Kim routinely assists with approvals, operations and mergers and acquisitions of cable, terrestrial and satellite broadcasters. In highlighted work, the team advised on a joint venture between SBS and CNBC and represented Next Entertainment World on investment by China’s Huace Film & TV. The team also advises on privacy and copyright matters.
The TMT division at Yoon & Yang provides cross-practice advisory and regulatory services, working closely with the entertainment and sports practice. Lawyers provide advice on antitrust laws and intellectual property to domestic and foreign companies investing in the local media market.
Ranking and editorials
Bae, Kim & Lee
Kim & Chang
Hwang Mok Park
Lee & Ko
Shin & Kim
Yoon & Yang
RANKING AND EDITORIALS