We advise on all legal aspects relating to traditional and digital media.
We have many years’ experience of advising content-rich businesses, leading independent publishers, digital media companies, business information providers, advertising and marketing agencies and other UK and international publishing and media companies on M&A and investment transactions. We advise publishing houses, licensing agencies and content providers on copyright and intellectual property matters. We also provide advice on the full range of commercial contracts and licences undertaken by publishing businesses.
As technology allows media platforms to evolve, there are many challenges and opportunities ahead for publishers and other media businesses – we support and advise our clients at all stages of their development.
Our expertise across the firm allows us to provide pragmatic and commercial advice in response to the challenges faced by traditional and digital publishers.
Advised Trustbridge Global Media, owned by international private equity firm Trustbridge Partners, on its landmark acquisition of the children’s book publisher Walker Books Limited. The complex transaction involved the acquisition of the majority shareholding in Walker Books from two discretionary trusts which held the shares for the benefit of employees and authors, and the acquisition of the remaining shares from over 300 employees and authors who held shares either directly or through the Walker Books’ share incentive plan.
Advised on the sale of online legal publisher, Justis Publishing Limited, to global legal research company vLex Holdings Limited. The transaction builds on Fox Williams’ experience of the EdTech and online learning sectors.
Advised the shareholders of Jessica Kingsley (Publishers) Limited on its sale to Hachette. Jessica Kingsley is one of the leading publishers of behavioural and social science titles.
Advised Welbeck Publishing Limited on its acquisition of Carlton Books and Jonathan Goodman Publishing.
Advised Osprey Publishing Ltd on its follow-on investment from Alcuin Capital Partners LLP to finance the acquisition of British Wildlife Publishing Limited. Following on from this, Fox Williams also advised Osprey on the acquisition of the assets and publishing businesses of Duncan Baird Publishers.
Advised the estate of Peter Mayer and his company, Gerald Duckworth & Company Ltd on the disposal of the majority of the company’s publishing assets to Prelude Books Ltd.
Advised the shareholders of education communications agency EdComs Limited on its acquisition by Everfi. The acquisition has given EdComs and EVERFI a global platform from which to deploy education addressing social issues alongside a roster of well-known brands and companies.
Advised on the sale of Zed Books and Zed Scholar to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. The transaction involved the sale of substantially all of the publishing business, including Zed Books and Zed Scholar, of Zed Books Limited, an employee collective, to worldwide publishing house Bloomsbury.
Are you able to facilitate introductions to potential investors in the publishing industry?
We have a wealth of experience in the early stage, venture capital and private equity sectors and act for institutional and private investors, investee companies and management teams. We have good relationships with both individuals and intermediaries and can facilitate introductions where required. In particular we have a strong network of angel investors in the publishing sector as well as many acquisitive clients.
How do I protect my work and my publishing imprints?
Our IP team provides in depth advice on copyright, design, know how, patent and trade mark exploitation, infringement, and licensing matters.
Can you advise on publishing and distribution agreements and commercial agents’ agreements?
We look to provide publishers with commercial advice on their standard form and bespoke publishing contracts as well as other contracts commonly encountered in the publishing sector (such as subsidiary rights agreements and co-edition agreements). We also have a specialist team of lawyers who advise on agency and distribution agreements (www.agentlaw.co.uk and www.distributorlaw.co.uk).
Do you have experience working with employee-owned businesses?
We have a number of clients which are structured as employee collectives or are owned by employees or employee share ownership plans and trusts. We have advised on all stages of the business life-cycle of such organisations from initial structure, incentive arrangements and eventual exit and sale.
How do I ensure my digital publishing business complies with data protection?
We provide specialist data protection advice to leading independent publishers, business information providers and other UK and international publicity and media companies. In particular we have a wealth of experience in assisting publishing companies navigate GDPR compliance.
Chambers UK 2023