Shearman And Sterling

News November 29, 2021

Fenway Sports Group’s Acquisition of Controlling Interest in Pittsburgh Penguins

Shearman & Sterling advised Fenway Sports Group (FSG) on the acquisition of the controlling interest in the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team. The deal, which is subject to approval by the National Hockey League Board of Governors, is expected to close before the end of the year.

FSG is a global sports, marketing, media, entertainment, and real estate company anchored by two iconic clubs, the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club. FSG’s portfolio includes two of the world’s most historic venues, Fenway Park and Anfield Stadium, NASCAR’s RFK Racing, NESN, sports marketing and consulting firm Fenway Sports Management (FSM), and Fenway Sports Group Real Estate (FSGRE), that oversees the assets, acquisitions, and development of FSG properties.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are a premier National Hockey League franchise, purchased by Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle in 1999. During their partnership, Lemieux and Burkle delivered three Stanley Cups and the construction of PPG Paints Arena, a multi-purpose venue which opened in August 2010 and is considered one of the top facilities in North America. Under their leadership, the Penguins have consistently led the NHL in local TV ratings, social media, sponsorships, and community and youth hockey investments, while selling out more than 600 straight games.

As part of the transaction, Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle will remain part of the ownership group and will be closely aligned with FSG.

Earlier this year Shearman & Sterling represented FSG in a $750 million investment in FSG by Redbird Capital Partners, which also resulted in LeBron James and Maverick Carter joining the FSG ownership group, and in a minority investment by FSG in The SpringHill Company, a growing and dynamic entertainment business founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, which brought together a consortium of investors comprised of leading global sports and entertainment companies including FSG, RedBird Capital, Nike and Epic Games.

The Shearman & Sterling team below included associates Joon Lee, Andrew Calamari and Jessica Gorski (both New York-M&A), Austin Grossfeld (NY-IPT) and visiting attorney Ali Al Yousif (NY-MA).

The Team