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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Manatt Launches Digital Media Investment Fund
Entertainment law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips on Wednesday announced it is launching a digital media practice and an investment fund aimed at early stage start-ups.
Manatt, whose legal clients include Sugarland, the Eagles, INgrooves and BMI Rights Management, also appointed Peter Csathy to head up the investment arm of Manatt Digital Media Ventures.
Csathy (pronounced chah-tee) was previously chief executive of Sorenson Media and, before that, SightSpeed. He was also president and chief operating officer of Musicmatch, a digital jukebox and streaming music service that Yahoo! Acquired in 2004 for $160 million. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Csathy began his career as an entertainment attorney for New Line Cinema and Universal Studios.
The Los Angeles-based firm’s digital media practice will be headed up by T. Hale Boggs, a Manatt partner who specializes in corporate, finance and venture capital issues. The practice is looking to differentiate itself from other boutiquelaw firms by selling a suite of soup-to-nuts services, from business consulting, partner negotiations and mergers and acquisitions.
Manatt, whose partners have invested in Pinterest and Etsy, declined to disclose how much money is in the investment fund, which is financed by the firm’s partners. Csathy said Manatt plans to invest in 10 to 15 startups a year, with individual investments ranging anywhere between $15,000 and $600,000.
"There’s been a groundswell of new digital business models, particularly in Los Angeles and New York," Csathy said. "There’s also an optimism among media companies about what this can mean for them."
Jordan Bromley, a Manatt partner who is part of the 30-person Digital Media Ventures unit, said the firm will look to invest in companies that help deliver content, particularly live content. (The law firm overall has 400 attorneys and consultants in eight cities.)
"We’re interested in companies that facilitate access," Bromley said.