In a deal announced Tuesday, Kirkland & Ellis is advising Harlem Globetrotters International—which operates the famed Globetrotters barnstorming basketball troupe—in its sale to Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation for an undisclosed sum.
Norcross, Georgia-based Herschend’s existing portfolio of properties includes Dollywood amusement park and Dollywood Splash Country water park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee—attractions the company runs along with country singer Dolly Parton—as well as Atlanta’s Stone Mountain Park and Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.
Herschend is buying the Globetrotters from Shamrock Capital Advisors, a Los Angeles–based private equity firm cofounded by Roy E. Disney that holds an 80 percent stake in the team. Reuters reported in June that Shamrock planned to put the business up for sale and expected to get between $50 million and $100 million.
The Globetrotters have been entertaining crowds with their signature brand of acrobatic and trick-play-heavy basketball for more than 80 years, playing—and mostly winning—more than 25,000 games around the world, most of them against the hapless Washington Generals and New York Nationals. The team was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and its many alumni include basketball legends Wilt Chamberlain and Connie Hawkins and baseball Hall of Famer Bob Gibson.
Though details of the agreement were not disclosed, Herschend said the Globetrotters’ management team and player roster will remain intact.
The Kirkland team advising the Globetrotters in connection with the transaction includes corporate partner Damon Fisher and tax partner Russell Light, as well as associates Bryan Ikegami, Ilan Napchan, and Alice Yuan. The firm has advised Shamrock on a number of past deals, including the 2005 acquisition of control of the Globetrotters from former player Mannie Jackson.
Herschend, meanwhile, is relying on lawyers from McKenna Long & Aldridge to provide outside counsel on the transaction. A firm spokeswoman did not immediately respond to The Am Law Daily‘s request for information regarding the firm’s deal team.
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