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Paul Hastings has hired Latham & Watkins’ global co-chair of entertainment, sports and media Kenneth “Ken” Deutsch as a partner to co-lead its own entertainment and media practice, based out of Los Angeles. A partner at Latham for nearly a decade, Deutsch represents a wide variety of entertainment companies and financiers. He recently advised New Republic Pictures in a multi-picture financing deal with Paramount Pictures to provide co-financing for several films, including Top Gun: Maverick and the upcoming Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning. He has also represented Macro Media in its $90 million equity raise led by Blackrock Alternatives; Stampede Entertainment in forming and capitalizing Hidden Pigeon Company with Redbird Capital Partners and children’s book author Mo Willems; and a variety of entertainment, real estate, employment, trademark and corporate matters for actor and creator Jon Favreau and his related companies. Deutsch declined to comment on specific clients, though he said he looks forward to continuing his longstanding client relationships with the team at Paul Hastings. Initially, Deutsch said, he is focused on finding synergies between Paul Hastings’ existing lawyers and their entertainment practices. Looking to the future, he said that the firm will also look to grow the pie beyond Los Angeles, in international markets such as London and elsewhere in Europe. Just days before Paul Hastings announced the Ken Deutsch hire, litigator Susan Leader arrived at the firm. Leader, who had been serving as co-chair of the complex litigation practice at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, joins Paul Hastings as a partner in its Century City office. Prior to joining Wilson Sonsini in the fall of 2021, she had been a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. In entertainment litigation, Leader recently represented William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME) in a lawsuit brought by Virgin Fest Los Angeles, related to the cancellation of the event in 2020 due to COVID-19. Leader successfully convinced a judge that WME wasn’t liable for the actions of its clients, such as Lizzo and Ellie Goulding, and that the contract entitled the artists to keep their performance guarantees. The lawsuit was one of many involving force majeure — the contract clause that removes liability in the event of an unforeseeable event — arising out of the pandemic. Leader currently represents Endeavor subsidiary UFC in a class action involving user data. … As the PGA Tour and LIV Golf move forward with their controversial combination, LIV Golf’s top lawyer won’t be in the picture. John Loffhagen, the London-based attorney who joined Saudi Arabia-backed LIV in May 2022, is “no longer” with LIV, according to an auto-response from his LIV email address. The circumstances surrounding his departure are not clear. Loffhagen did not respond to a LinkedIn message and a LIV representative could not be reached for comment. Bloomberg Law first reported the departure. LIV critics had called Saudi Arabia’s foray into professional golf an effort by the country to shift the focus away from its human rights abuses, including the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi five years ago. Many members of Congress have blasted the deal and called the PGA hypocritical for partnering with LIV after spending months of suggesting it was unseemly. Some antitrust experts also criticize the transaction as monopolistic and expressed doubt it can clear U.S. and European regulators. LIV’s hiring of Loffhagen a year ago had given the startup deep legal experience in the sports and marketing realm. He’d spent the prior five years as a consultant working on projects in India and elsewhere. Before that, he spent 19 years in senior roles at the sports marketing juggernaut IMG, including serving as head of legal for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Loffhagen’s counterpart at the PGA tour is chief legal officer Len Brown, who also serves as executive vice president of licensing and merchandising. Brown was counsel to the Atlanta Braves and its four minor league affiliates before joining the PGA Tour as counsel in 2005. He became chief legal officer four years later. … Jacksonville, FL-based Fanatics, which has rapidly built a massive market share in sports merchandising, has appointed Gregg Winiarski as chief legal officer. Winiarski takes the legal reins after serving as an adviser to the company since 2021. In that capacity, he played a significant role in last year’s $500 million acquisition of the Topps sports trading-card business. Based in New York, Winiarski will oversee the full range of Fanatics’ legal matters around the globe. The company already has locked up much of the sports merchandising market in the United States via deals with such leagues as the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer. Fanatics is also adding to its presence around the world. For example, it recently acquired the Italian sports merchandise company Epi. It also recently struck a deal for manufacturing and distribution of merchandise for the Yomiuri Giants, Japan’s most popular baseball team. Before Winiarski’s hiring as Fanatics’ CLO, the company’s top legal executive was Shiri Ben-Yishai, who joined the company in January as general counsel. Ben-Yishai — who previously served as chief legal officer for billionaire investor Ronald Perelman’s holding company — now will serve as general counsel for Fanatics’ collectibles division, according to Fanatics’ website. Fanatics launched in 1995 and has been rapidly consolidating sports merchandising for more than a decade. The company has raised $4.9 billion over eleven funding rounds. The most recent, in December 2022, raised $700 million at a valuation of $31 billion. … Scottsdale, AZ-based Harkins Theatres, the largest family-owned movie theater chain in the United States, promoted Max McCauley to general counsel. McCauley was formerly associate general counsel and director of compliance. He replaces Richard Lustiger, who has moved to part time but will serve as vice president of legal and corporate governance. McCauley has been with Harkins for five years, joining in 2018 as an attorney after two years as an associate at Steptoe & Johnson. Harkins is the sixth-largest movie theater chain in the country, with 32 locations in Arizona, California, Colorado and Oklahoma.
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