Poyner Spruill Welcomes Education Law Practice Group

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Jim O’Brien

t: 919.783.2872

Jim is a sports and entertainment lawyer and a business lawyer. Jim represents professional sports teams, team owners, social media influencers, film and television production companies, and businesses in many other industries. He has successfully negotiated many endorsement, appearance, sponsorship, talent, influencer, and other agreements involving name, image, and likeness rights.

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He is a corporate deal lawyer who represents many established and emerging growth companies in mergers and acquisitions and other transactions. Jim also works with clients in all aspects of the entertainment industry (film, music, television), including film financing, film fund formation, NASCAR, co-production deals, production issues, exclusive recording agreements, and distribution. Jim’s motion picture credits include “Moving Midway,” “Cold Storage,” “Bar Starz,” “Three Days in Vegas,” “The List,” “A Dance for Bethany,” and “Night Feeders.”

Areas of Focus

+Business Organizations & Transactions

  • Serves as lead counsel to buyers, sellers, investors and lenders in various mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, including triangular mergers, leveraged buyouts, asset purchases and sales, stock purchases and sales, and capital restructurings ranging in purchase price from less than a million dollars to several billion dollars
  • Serves as counsel to film, television, music and other entertainment companies, and represents directors, producers, studios, on-screen talent, bands and musicians; currently serving as production counsel on a number of feature-length motion pictures
  • Serves as outside general counsel to many established and emerging growth companies in various industries (including entertainment, manufacturing, retail, technology, internet, textiles and garments, architecture, chemicals, health care, e-commerce, publishing, and telecommunications), advising on general corporate and contract matters, entity selection and formation, shareholders’ agreements, angel investment, venture capital investment, strategic alliances, and protection of confidential information, trade secrets and intellectual property
  • Works with executives in structuring employment relationships and compensation arrangements (including cash and non-cash incentive compensation) with companies in various industries, including manufacturing, bio-technology, information technology, e-commerce and services.
  • He also has significant experience in capital-raising transactions, representing both issuers and investors, including venture capitalists, venture-debt participants and other private and institutional investors.
Visit our Business Organizations & Transactions page   ▶

+Mergers & Acquisitions

  • Represented purchaser in acquisition of a professional soccer team
  • Represented seller in a $110 million strategic acquisition of consumer electronics company
  • Represented seller in a $21 million asset sale of a sporting goods manufacturer
  • Represented a manufacturing company in its acquisition of equipment valued at over $49 million for a new manufacturing facility
Visit our Mergers & Acquisitions page   ▶

+Business Transactions

  • Represented founder and CEO in a $90 million sale of health care IT company and his subsequent re-acquisition of the company
  • Represented seller in a $34 million asset sale of national commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning services company
  • Represented a logistics IT company in $3 million Series A preferred stock offering
  • Represented a health care IT company in $3 million common stock offering
Visit our Business Transactions page   ▶



University of California at Berkeley School of Law, J.D., 1992

University of North Carolina, B.A., 1988

+Notable Accomplishments

Ranked among Super Lawyers magazine’s North Carolina “Super Lawyers,” (Mergers & Acquisitions, Business/Corporate) 2006-2014, (Entertainment) 2006-2015, (Sports) 2015
Ranked among Business Leader Media’s 2008 Triangle Movers & Shakers
Featured in “Lawyer Expresses His Love of the Arts by Serving the Film Industry” published in the June 2007 issue of NC Magazine

+Professional Community Activities

Board Member, North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame

Member, North Carolina Film Council

Director, Cucalorus Film Festival

North Carolina Bar Association

Chairman, Music and Film Committee, North Carolina Bar Association Sports and Entertainment Law Section

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