DLA Piper hired Peter White, Charles Baker, Mark Whitaker and Katie Baynes as partners in the corporate and finance group.
White, Baynes and Baker will be based in the firm's New York office and Whitaker will be in its Washington D.C. office. The group was formerly from Nixon Peabody. White will mostly likely have a lead role in directing the global sports transactional practice at DLA Piper.
White, Baker, Whitaker and Baynes have a 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 related to the funding and development of large infrastructure projects. Additionally, they also advise clients on complex mergers and acquisitions, media and commercial rights, as well as a wide array of corporate deals.
Some recent high-profile sports transactions led by White, Baker, Whitaker and Baynes include :the acquisition financing of a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field; the financing of New Meadowlands Stadium for the New York Giants and New York Jets; the acquisition of the Miami Dolphins football franchise and Dolphins Stadium; the financing of Barclays Arena for the Brooklyn Nets; the financing of Citifield for the New York Mets; the financing of the new Yankee Stadium; the financing of Target Field for the Minnesota Twins ; the financing of Amway Center for the Orlando Magic; the merger of Ashworth and TaylorMade-Adidas Golf; and the acquisition of D.C. United Soccer Club.
White is the former head of the global sports, media and entertainment group at 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. White also has over 20 years of experience in the project and public finance sectors, with a focus on the development and financing of large infrastructure projects.
Baker focuses his practice on all aspects of public and private mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, restructurings, and private equity deals, with a core focus in the sports, media, entertainment, and consumer sectors. Baker has represented bidders for sports franchises in the major athletic leagues. He has also advised several global financial institutions on fairness and solvency opinion deals.
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 experience in public infrastructure transactions, such as 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.
Baynes focuses her practice in infrastructure finance and public finance. She was closely 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 as well as multifamily housing bonds. She has also represented financial institutions issuing letters of credit and standby bond purchase agreements to support a variety of municipal bonds.
“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,” White said. “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.”
“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.”