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Peter White, Charles Baker, Mark Whitaker and Katie Baynes Bring Fully Integrated Global Sports and Entertainment Practice to DLA Piper
(New York and Washington D.C.) May 3, 2010 – DLA Piper announced today that Peter White, Charles Baker, Mark Whitaker and Katie Baynes have joined the firm as partners in the Corporate and Finance group. White, Baynes and Baker will be in the New York office and Whitaker will be in the firm’s Washington D.C. office. The group joins DLA Piper from Nixon Peabody LLP. It is expected that White will have a leading role in directing the global sports transactional practice at DLA Piper.
White, Baker, Whitaker and Baynes have a diverse practice with an emphasis on financings, mergers and acquisitions and other complex transactions involving sports, media, entertainment and infrastructure properties. They regularly represent professional sports teams, financial institutions, investors, borrowers, government entities and public authorities in a full range of transactions involving all aspects of these industries. They also have extensive knowledge of project and public finance in connection with the funding and development of large infrastructure projects. In addition, the team advises clients on complex mergers and acquisitions, media and commercial rights, as well as a wide array of corporate transactions including fairness, valuation and solvency issues, among others.
“Peter, Chuck, Mark and Katie are widely recognized as being among the pre-eminent transactional sports lawyers in the US, and their fully integrated practice will be a tremendous boost to the firm’s finance team,” said Roger Meltzer, partner and Global Chair of the Corporate and Finance practice. “Their global practice is a perfect fit for DLA Piper’s platform, and we believe this will uniquely position us to take advantage of the worldwide growth of international sports transactions.”
Some recent high-profile sports transactions led by White, Baker, Whitaker and Baynes include:
o The acquisition financing of a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field
o The financing of New Meadowlands Stadium for the New York Giants and New York Jets
o The acquisition of the Miami Dolphins football franchise and Dolphins Stadium
o The financing of Barclays Arena for the Brooklyn Nets
o The financing of Citifield for the New York Mets
o The financing of the new Yankee Stadium
o The financing of Target Field for the Minnesota Twins
o The financing of Amway Center for the Orlando Magic
o The merger of Ashworth Inc. and TaylorMade-Adidas Golf
o The acquisition of D.C. United Soccer Club
“We believe that DLA Piper’s unparalleled international reach will allow us to grow our global sports practice in areas where no other firm has the reach or resources,” said White. “We view this as an opportunity to help DLA Piper become the go-to firm for all sports finance and M&A transactions both domestically and internationally.”
About the New Partners
Peter White is the former head of the Global Sports, Media and Entertainment Group of Nixon Peabody. He has represented financial institutions, government agencies, teams and owners in the financing, development and operation of numerous stadiums and arenas for professional sports teams from the world’s major athletic leagues, including the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Barclays Premier League, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League. In addition to his sports finance practice, White also has more than 20 years of experience in the project and public finance sectors, with an emphasis on the development and financing of large infrastructure projects.
In 2007, White was named one of American Lawyer’s “Dealmakers of the Year.” He received a J.D. from St. John’s University and B.A. from Adelphi University.
Charles Baker focuses his practice on all aspects of public and private mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, restructurings, and private equity transactions, with a core focus in the sports, media, entertainment, and consumer sectors. Baker has represented bidders for sports franchises in the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and many of the European football leagues. He has also advised numerous global financial institutions on fairness and solvency opinion transactions. He is currently an Executive Officer and on the Board of Trustees of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and is also on the Sports Luncheon Committee of the March of Dimes.
Baker received a J.D. from Cornell Law School and B.A. from the University of Rochester.
Mark Whitaker represents financial institutions, investors, borrowers, government entities and public authorities on financing transactions involving sports properties. He recently represented the Ricketts family in their financing of a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and related assets, and he led the 2009 bond financing for the completion of the new Yankee Stadium. He also has extensive experience in public infrastructure transactions, including transportation infrastructure; convention centers and hotels; colleges, universities and other section 501(c)(3) organizations; solid waste disposal facilities; power generation facilities; low-income housing facilities; manufacturing facilities; and shopping centers. He has structured and negotiated senior lien secured and unsecured debt, including credit facilities, exempt public offerings, limited offerings and private placements, subordinated debt and related intercreditor arrangements.
Whitaker was recently named to the Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40,” in recognition of his accomplishments in financing transactions for sports franchises and facilities. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School and A.B., magna cum laude, from Duke University.
Katie Baynes focuses her practice in the fields of infrastructure finance and public finance. She was significantly involved in the New Jersey Nets Barclays Center financing and led the 2009 bond financing for the completion of the New York Mets’ Citifield Ballpark. Katie represents government authorities, issuers and underwriters in connection with industrial development revenue bonds, civic facility revenue bonds, college and university bonds, hospital and healthcare bonds, other exempt facility bonds and multi-family housing bonds. She has also represented financial institutions issuing letters of credit and standby bond purchase agreements to support a variety of municipal bonds.
Baynes received a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard University and B.A. from Cornell University.
About DLA Piper (www.dlapiper.com)
DLA Piper has 3,500 lawyers in 29 countries and 67 offices throughout the US, UK, Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia. In certain jurisdictions, this information may be considered attorney advertising.
Laura Miller, Media Relations, Greentarget Global Group, 312.252.4104
Joven Cabanday, Media Relations, Greentarget Global Group, 646.695.2883