Meanwhile, Freshfields is the longshot entry to advise ITV on the £9bn takeover discussions with NTL, as the independent broadcaster keeps quiet on its choice of counsel. Freshfields won ITV as a new client in 2005 after it acted on its delisting from the New York Stock Exchange. It then advised ITV on its acquisition of Friends Reunited. Both Freshfields and longstanding counsel Lovells advised ITV on aborted takeover talks from a consortium that included Goldman Sachs and Apax in March. ITV refused to comment on the NTL talks. Corporate finance head Hugh Nineham is the Lovells relationship partner and led the firm's team defending ITV on the failed bid earlier this year. NTL has overlooked longstanding adviser Travers Smith and instructed arch rivals and one-time suitors Ashurst and Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson as joint legal advisers.