BSkyB has returned to longstanding adviser Herbert Smith to help it navigate its latest regulatory hurdle.
BSkyB is one of the pay-TV players that media regulator Ofcom last week announced it would be investigating, with the potential to refer it to the Competition Commission.
The matter is mainly being handled in-house by BSkyB general counsel James Conyers, but the company is taking advice from a Herbert Smith team led by competition partner Elizabeth McKnight.
Ofcom will look into wide-ranging issues in the pay-TV market, including content control and distribution platforms, after receiving a joint submission from BSkyB rivals Virgin Media, Setanta Sports, Top Up TV and BT.
The probe follows a separate, unprecedented ministerial intervention by Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling (The Lawyer, 5 March), who has requested that Ofcom examines whether BSkyB’s 17.9 per cent stake in ITV represents a threat to public interest.
For that case BSkyB has turned to Allen & Overy (A&O), after a series of conflicts at Herbert Smith gifted A&O work on the original £940m purchase of the ITV stake.
Darling will have to decide by 27 April whether to clear BSkyB’s stake or refer the matter to the Competition Commission.