US firms dominate Virgin Media panel

Latham & Watkins, ­Linklaters and Sullivan & Cromwell are among seven firms to gain new work from Virgin Media as part of the telecoms company’s first external legal panel.

The three firms join ­existing advisers Ashurst and Fried Frank on the new corporate, finance, M&A and competition panel.

The commercial, industry, employment and regulatory roster will comprise Baker & McKenzie, Mayer Brown, Osborne Clarke, Reed Smith and Simmons & Simmons. Virgin previously only instructed Simmons in this area.

Wiggin will continue as the go-to adviser for media law, while Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy holds on to its capital ­markets and financing relationship.

The inaugural panel hikes the number of US firms on the roster to seven out of 12. The telecoms giant is listed on both the London Stock Exchange and US exchange Nasdaq.

The panel launch follows the appointment of general counsel Scott Dresser early this year after the retirement of legal chief Bryan Hall (TheLawyer.com, 6 January).

Dresser sent a proposal to just under 30 firms in the summer and interviewed most of these with a team of lawyers from the in-house department.

“You can really derive great benefit from a broader group of firms,” said Dresser. “You get different ­perspectives. It enables you to look at a particular issue and use several firms as a sounding board before you land on one.”