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James Balfour

James Balfour

Senior Associate

James is a senior associate focusing primarily on Media, Entertainment and Telecoms work.



James is an Associate in the TMT Group at Herbert Smith Freehills, focusing primarily on Media, Entertainment and Telecoms work. James has a wide range of media and entertainment experience, including advising on gambling and gaming arrangements, content acquisition and distribution, production agreements, sports rights and sponsorship deals and advertising and marketing arrangements. James also co-authors the PLC note "Overview of Broadcast Content Regulation". On the telecoms side James' experience includes advising on high profile network sharing arrangements, regulatory issues (including MVNO Licensing), acquisitions and disposals of telecoms infrastructure (including towers and fibre optic cable), and telecoms-related M&A.

James' experience includes advising:

  • Tabcorp on its white label partnership with News to launch an online wagering and gaming business in the UK and Irish markets, to be known as "Sun Bets"; Tabcorp is a leading Australian gambling entertainment company and one of the world’s largest publicly listed gambling companies and wagering operators by revenue
  • Moby Group on an exciting new partnership with VICE Media to bring innovative digital news, culture and lifestyle programming to youth across the Middle East and North Africa region
  • Al Arab Channel on all aspects of the launch of a news channel (ranging from production, acquisition and distribution to technical arrangements), launched in 2014
  • FilmFlex Movies on the launch of its movie-on-demand service (known as "EE Film") on the new Everything Everywhere 4G network (this is the first movie-on-demand service launched on the UK's 4G network) and all aspects of its new white label partnerships with Eircom and TalkTalk; on movie output licence agreements with the major Hollywood studios and independent licensors for exhibition of movies on all of FilmFlex's on-demand services and on FilmFlex's technical platform operation arrangements
  • a major Olympic Games sponsor on the renewal of its sponsorship arrangements with the IOC
  • Sky on:
    • its £6.8bn acquisition of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland from Twenty-First Century Fox to create "Sky Europe"
    • its acquisition of Love Productions
    • the negotiation of distribution agreements with distributors worldwide
  • Khazanah on its investment to acquire a 26% stake in the Imaginarium Studios. The Imaginarium operates the leading performance capture studios in Europe and was founded by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish in 2011 
  • Telefónica S.A. on the circa. £10 billion sale of O2 to Hutchison Whampoa, parent company of UK telecom operator Three
  • Telefónica UK on its active and passive network sharing arrangements  with Vodafone
  • a major telco on its bid for an MVNO licence in Iran
  • IHS Holding Limited, a leading African tower company, on the acquisition of mobile towers from Bharti in certain African jurisdictions

In addition, James has spent time on secondment at a number of clients operating in the TMT sector, including:

  • British American Tobacco (in their commercial operations legal team);
  • Sky (in their content distribution team and their business development team); and
  • Wayra (Telefónica's corporate venturing and start-up accelerator arm).



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