Cassels acted as Canadian counsel to The Second City, Inc. and its affiliates in connection with the sale of the Second City group of companies to private equity firm ZMC.
Founded in 1959, Second City has long been North America’s leading improvisational comedy enterprise, with theatres in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles and alumni including Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Keegan-Michael Key, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Candy, Bill Murray, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Tim Meadows and many others. Its pioneering SCTV sketch comedy series, produced in Toronto and Edmonton, ran for years in Canada and attracted a loyal following on NBC and HBO in the United States.
ZMC is a private equity firm that invests in media entities and is run by Strauss Zelnick who is also the chief executive of Take-Two Interactive Software, the video game conglomerate behind Grand Theft Auto.
The sale by Canadians Andrew Alexander and D’Arcy Stuart (son of the longtime co-owner, Len Stuart) represents the end of the longstanding Canadian ownership of Second City and the SCTV brand.
Cassels represented Second City with a team that included Casey Chisick (Entertainment & Sports and Intellectual Property), Colin Ground, Lindsay Dykstra and Michael Britton (Private Equity and M&A), Alison Hayman (Intellectual Property), Chris Hersh (Regulatory) and Joseph Bellissimo (Restructuring & Insolvency).