Gateley, Sheridans and Wiggin win first-time slots on BT panel

Gateley is set to join media specialists Sheridans and Wiggin as new members of BT’s UK legal panel as the telecoms group comes close to finalising a review of its external adviser roster.

The trio of firms will join existing panellists Bird & Bird, CMS Cameron McKenna and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on the six-firm roster in a move that represents BT’s increased involvement in the broadcasting arena.

BT last year won certain rights to broadcast Premier League matches between 2013/14 and 2015/16 and will launch a football-focused channel to carry the coverage.

The panel has not been formally completed, but it is understood that many or all the firms have been informed of their success pitching for a place.

Bird & Bird, CMS and Freshfields were all reappointed for a year in April 2012 after BT utlilised its right to extend the panel term (10 February 2012). Of the three firms, CMS was the only new addition to the roster when the company last carried out a major review in 2009 (30 September 2009).

The 2009 review saw previous panel members Addleshaw Goddard and Linklaters miss out.

Freshfields recently advised BT on its acquisition of IT services company Tikit, with relationship partner Ben Spiers leading in a deal that gifted the magic circle firm an estimated £500,000 in fees (26 November 2012).

In 2011 Wiggin secured a victory against BT on behalf of a syndicate of Hollywood studios seeking a High Court injunction to prevent customers of the UK telecoms giant from accessing a website that indexed and enabled searching of copyright-protected content (28 July 2011). The firm’s links with BT are understood to be longstanding.

BT and all the firms declined to comment.