Christopher R. O'Brien

Partner
OBrien Christopher

Chris O’Brien helps clients create value through corporate transactions across a wide range of industries, including entertainment and media. Chris represents multinational and regional corporations, established companies, and nascent enterprises on a wide range of business transactions, including company formation, mergers and acquisitions, financings, and joint ventures. He is also co-founder and a co-chair of Venable’s Blockchain and Digital Currencies Group. As a trusted advisor, Chris frequently serves as outside general counsel for his clients. 

Chris understands business goals.  He has an insider’s perspective from his years as a senior in-house attorney for Fortune 500 toy company Mattel, Inc., where he handled the sale of The Learning Company software division. He served as general counsel to a mobile telecom and entertainment startup, privately valued at $1 billion, where he raised $120 million in equity financing. He also served as general counsel of a publicly-traded restaurant company with $700 million in revenue. Chris has worked with early-stage companies across many industries, including blockchain, financial services, and healthcare. This diversity of client service is a major reason the Los Angeles Business Journal named him one of the most influential attorneys practicing in digital media and e-commerce law.

Throughout his career, he has led matters with significant international components. Early in his legal practice, he worked in the Prague and Helsinki offices of a prominent international law firm. He has since handled critical legal matters in every major international market.

Experience

Representative Matters

M&A, Financings, and Joint Ventures

  • Advised on the sale of a music booking division of a large talent agency
  • Facilitated the creation of a new television production joint venture between a prominent producer and a major network
  • Facilitated the creation of a reality television production company between prominent producers and a multinational media conglomerate
  • Advised on the sale of a television production company to a major studio
  • Advised on the largest minority investment into a women’s professional soccer club
  • Facilitated the creation of an over-the-top (OTT) joint venture in the Comic-Con space
  • Advised on the sale of a movie theater technology company’s 3D assets
  • Negotiated the acquisition of the largest independent DVD distributor in the United States
  • Advised on the sale of a minority interest in a large family-owned fast-food franchise
  • Negotiated the acquisition of a digital media network in India
  • Counseled on a global distribution alliance and equity purchase between the world’s largest toy company and the largest Japanese toy company
  • Counseled on the licensing video game rights to iconic U.S. toy car brands
  • Advised on global equity offering of a Scandinavian steel company
  • Advised on numerous privatization and foreign investment transactions in the Czech Republic
  • Assisted in motion picture co-production (Swiss-British) for an Academy Award-winning documentary
  • Advised on the sale of rights to the first series to begin on a mobile-only platform and become a U.S. cable series
  • Served as general counsel of a U.S. mobile phone and entertainment company, and raised a Preferred Stock E round equity financing of $120 million
  • Advised on the sale of a prominent literary agency to a large talent agency
  • Facilitated the acquisition of a 50% interest in a music talent agency in the United Kingdom
  • Facilitated the acquisition of one of the largest music talent agencies in the world representing DJ and electronica artists
  • Advised on the sale of the second-largest consumer software business in the world
  • Advised on the sale of a movie theater software tracking company
  • Counseled on a Series A financing and incorporation of a wireless 5G consumer products company
  • Represented a management group in the purchase of controlling stake in a Hispanic cable channel
  • Represented an NBA star in numerous private investments and promotional agreements
  • Represented a model in numerous promotional arrangements
  • Represented a family-owned food products company in connection with a shareholders agreement, settlement of multiple lawsuits, and corporate governance matters
  • Represented a wireless services company in multiple agreements to provide enhanced wireless services to Class A properties

Blockchain and Digital Currencies

  • Advised a blockchain company in connection with its digital advertising venture
  • Advised a major recording artist in connection with the auction of several fine art non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on a premier NFT bidding site
  • Advised a major Hollywood actor in promotional relationship with a large blockchain company
  • Represented a cable television network in its first NFT effort
  • Represented multiple film and television personalities in connection with joining blockchain and NFT advisory boards, as well as in promotional agreements
  • Advised Hong Kong-based NFT art platform in establishing operations
  • Advised NFT collectibles company in creating business model
  • Counseled blockchain advisor on first of its kind directors and officers (D&O) insurance policy
  • Represented an asset-backed digital currency company before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. University of Southern California, Gould School of Law 1991
    • National Moot Court Team
  • Foreign Service Exam U.S. State Department 1988
  • B.A. The American University 1987

Bar Admissions

  • California

Recognition
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  • Variety, Dealmakers Impact Report, 2021
  • Legal 500, M&A: Middle-Market (sub-$500 million), 2017 – 2019
  • Los Angeles Business Journal, Most Influential Lawyers, Digital Media and E-Commerce Law, 2014

Community
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Volunteerism

  • Member, Executive Committee, Measure MB, the successful parcel tax initiative that raises $2.65 million each year for Manhattan Beach Public Schools.