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Why Comcast Chose Thomas Reid as Its Top Lawyer

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Mar. 8 2019, Published 4:02 p.m. ET

Comcast wanted an expert to meet its legal needs

Comcast (CMCSA) recently announced the hiring of Thomas Reid as its general counsel. Comcast’s current general counsel, Arthur Block, is retiring after serving as the company’s top lawyer for two decades. Reid is set to start in his new role at Comcast next month.

According to Comcast, Reid’s global experience meets all of its legal needs. The company says its incoming top lawyer would be ideally suited to helping navigate its future, where the company plans to have international operations account for a larger portion of its revenue. To extend its global footprint, the company bought British broadcaster Sky last year, increasing the contribution of Comcast’s international operations to 25% of its total revenue from ~9.0% last year.

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Reid worked with Comcast on Sky acquisition

Reid was an outside legal adviser for Comcast in the Sky transaction, which was not easy. The company beat out 21st Century Fox (FOX) and Walt Disney (DIS) and ended up paying more than it had originally intended for the asset. Comcast views Sky as a crown jewel, given its extensive reach across Europe.

Comcast is freshening its legal team as it attempts to cope with its rapidly evolving industry, where it is no longer business as usual for legacy media companies. Like Dish Network (DISH) and AT&T (T), Comcast is planning to launch its own video streaming service to respond to cord-cutting, going head-to-head with rivals that are drawing away its pay-TV customers. Comcast lost 29,000 pay-TV subscribers in the fourth quarter.

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