NTL has overlooked its ongoing relationship with Travers Smith Braithwaite and has hired international law firm Baker & McKenzie.
`Baker & McKenzie advised NTL on a $2bn (£1.4bn) IT outsourcing agreement to IBM Global Services.`Under the agreement NTL is outsourcing all its IT services in the UK and Ireland until 2012.`NTL does not have a formal panel and aims to keep work in-house, although Travers is used for corporate work. But this time the work went straight to Baker & McKenzie.`Baker & McKenzie IT partner Robbie Downing said the firm had carried out a number of projects for NTL, including advising on providing telecoms services to an internet service provider (ISP) and advising on competition aspects when NTL was acquired by Cabletel Group.`However, NTL group legal director Robert MacKenzie said he had chosen Baker & McKenzie because one of its lawyers had had a previous relationship with Cable & Wireless Communications.`When Cable & Wireless outsourced its IT services to IBM in 1998 it was advised by Richard Hawtin, who was then with Rowe & Maw.`Last year Cable & Wireless merged with NTL and MacKenzie said that going back to Hawtin, who now works at Baker & McKenzie, was the obvious choice.`MacKenzie said: "Travers has a good commercial team and could have done the work. However, giving the work to Baker & McKenzie won't change our current relationships."`Travers partner Spencer Summerfield denied that he was worried that the work went to Baker & McKenzie.`"We understand why NTL used Baker & McKenzie and we already do almost all of their corporate work," he said. "It was all very amicable and we did some work on the deal behind the scene."`Under the agreement nearly 500 IT staff will move from NTL to IBM and it is forecast that the agreement will generate cost savings of more than $450m (£324.7m) over its lifetime.`In the past 12 months Baker & McKenzie's London office has acted on outsourcing agreements worth about $4bn (£2.9bn).