Christopher R. O'Brien

Partner
OBrien Christopher

Chris O’Brien is a corporate transactional attorney and a member of Venable’s Entertainment and Media Group, and a co-chair of Venable’s Blockchain and Digital Currency Group. He is a corporate attorney who works with major corporations, established companies, and nascent enterprises. Chris advises buyers, sellers, investors, and joint venture partners in a range of corporate transactions and financings. He frequently serves as outside general counsel for his clients, including content producers and distributors, talent agencies, operating companies across a range of industries, and varied financing sources. 

Chris has an insider’s perspective from his years as a senior in-house attorney for Fortune 500 toy company Mattel Inc. In that role, he handled the sale of the company’s Learning Company software division. Chris served as general counsel to a mobile telecom 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 one 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, and has handled critical legal matters in every major international market.

Experience

Representative Matters

  • Represented a client in the acquisition of the largest independent digital entertainment content distributor in the United States
  • Represented a client in the creation of a new television production joint venture between a prominent producer and a major network
  • Represented a client in the creation of a reality television production company between prominent producers and a multinational media conglomerate
  • Represented a client in the sale of a movie theater technology company’s 3D assets
  • Represented a client in the acquisition of the largest independent DVD distributor in the United States
  • Represented a U.S.-based client in the acquisition of a 50% interest in a music talent agency in the United Kingdom
  • Represented a client in the acquisition of equity interest in the largest music talent agency in the world representing DJ and electronica artists
  • Represented a client in the sale of the second-largest consumer software business in the world
  • Represented a client in the sale of a prominent literary agency to a large talent agency
  • Represented a blockchain company in digital advertising venture
  • Represented a client in the corporate restructuring of an Internet-based luxury goods flash sale e-commerce company
  • Represented an asset-backed digital currency company
  • Represented a client in motion picture co-production (Swiss-British) for an Academy Award–winning documentary
  • Represented a client in the sale of rights to the first series to begin on a mobile-only platform and become a U.S. cable series
  • Represented a client in Preferred Stock E round equity financing of $120 million for a U.S. mobile phone and entertainment company
  • Represented a client in the creation of an OTT joint venture in the Comic-Con space
  • Represented a client in the sale of a minority interest in a large family-owned fast-food franchisee
  • Served as outside general counsel to an early-stage litigation recovery company
  • Represented a client in the acquisition of a digital media network in India
  • Represented a client in a global distribution alliance and equity purchase between the world’s largest toy company and the largest Japanese toy company
  • Represented a client in licensing video game rights to iconic U.S. toy car brands
  • Represented a client in a global equity offering of a Scandinavian steel company
  • Represented clients in numerous privatization and foreign investment transactions in the Czech Republic
     

Insights

Credentials
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Education

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

Bar Admissions

  • California

Recognition
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  • Recognized in Legal 500, M&A: Middle-Market (sub-$500 million), 2017, 2018
  • Included in Los Angeles Business Journal, Most Influential Lawyers: Digital Media and E-Commerce Law, 2014

Community
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Volunteerism

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