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Portrait ofPaul Guite

Paul Guite

Co-Head of Media

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English

Paul is a partner in the corporate team and co-head of the media practice. Paul advises on all aspects of corporate work with particular experience in private company and business acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures, fundraisings and reorganisations.

Paul's clients range from international listed corporates to individual owners of private businesses. Paul has advised on international and UK transactions in a number of industry sectors with a particular focus on media, technology and communications.

Paul has been listed as a Key Figure in legal directories for each of M&A: Upper Mid-Market and Premium Deals £250m+ and TMT: Media (Europe Wide).

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Paul is listed as “technically excellent” in Media and Entertainment.

Legal 500, 2017

“Key figures from Olswang include … Paul Guite” M&A:Upper Mid-Market and Premium Deals, £250M+.

Legal 500, 2017

Paul is listed as a Notable Practitioner for TMT: Media (Europe Wide)

Chambers Global 2017

Olswang LLP ‘provides excellent service backed up by great knowledge and insight’… Paul Guite acted for DLG Acquisitions on the purchase of the entire issued share capital of New Pictures.

Legal 500 UK 2016

Paul is recommended for his expertise in both media and entertainment and flotations: small and mid-cap and is described as "calm, considered and accurate - an excellent technical lawyer"

The Legal 500, 2012

Relevant experience

  • Access Entertainment and Sky Ventures on the sale of Bad Wolf to Sony Pictures Television.
  • All3Media on its acquisitions of each of Silverback Films, Two Brothers Pictures and New Pictures.
  • Annabel Jones and Charlie Brooker, the creators of Black Mirror, on setting up production entity Broke and Bones and the subsequent investment by Netflix.
  • Asacha Media on its acquisitions of WAG Entertainment and Red Planet Pictures.
  • Box to Box Films on the minority investment by Bruin Capital.
  • Double Negative shareholders on its sale to Prime Focus.
  • Elisabeth Murdoch and related entities on establishing content production business, Sister, and investments in 110% Content, BeloFX, Dorothy St Pictures, KOKO, Locksmith Animation, South of the River Pictures, Vertical Networks and Yes Yes Media.
  • Global Media on its acquisitions of each of Exterion Media, Outdoor Plus and Primesight out of home advertising businesses.
  • Hearst group members on the acquisition of Mediablaze and investments in Acin, Cognitive Credit, Signal AI and The Plum Guide.
  • ITV on its investments in Genial Productions, Koska and Route 24 TV production companies and a series of media for equity investments for ITV AdVentures.
  • Matchroom Sport, the market leading sporting events promotions company, on the global partnership and minority investment from Pitch International.
  • Motive Pictures on the investment by Endeavor Content.
  • Music trade associations Merlin and IMPALA on the process by which its members were able to acquire significant assets from Warner Music Group.
  • Shine shareholders on its sale to News Corp. and on implementing its international growth strategy via the acquisitions of Metronome Film & Television AB (Scandinavia) and Reveille, LLC. (US), Bossa Studios, Brown Eyed Boy, ChannelFlip Media, Firefly Film and Television Productions and Princess Productions and international joint ventures with key talent in each of Australia, France, Germany and Spain.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery group members on the acquisitions of BluTV, TT Games, Playdemic and Big Pixel Studios, an investment in Copa 90 and disposal of the UK TruTV channel.
  • XIX Entertainment on the sale of its interest in Beckham Brand Holdings.
  • YouGov on its acquisitions of each of InConversation, Crunch.IO, Portent.IO and Wizsight.
  • 21st Century Fox on its joint venture with Apollo merging global television production groups Endemol and Shine.
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  • 2000 – Admitted as a Solicitor in England and Wales
  • 1998 – LPC, Nottingham Law School
  • 1997 – LLB (Hons), Nottingham University
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CMS advises Matchroom Sport on global partnership with Pitch International
International law firm CMS has advised Matchroom Sport (Matchroom), the market leading sporting events promotions company, on a global partnership and minority investment from Pitch International, a renowned...
CMS advises Box to Box Films on investment by Bruin Capital
International law firm CMS has advised Box to Box Films (Box to Box) on a minority investment by Bruin Capital, the industry-leading growth investment and buyout specialist in global sports. Founded by...
The media and climate change
How is the media sector addressing the climate challenge?
Dedicated Energy & Climate Change practice
With more than 450 lawyers in 75 offices across the globe our Energy and Climate Change practice is one of the largest of its kind. It was founded on ground-breaking work designing and im­ple­ment­ing mod­ern energy markets and is now at the forefront of developments on energy transition, renewables and the various responses to the climate crisis. From advising on climate change strategy, new tech­no­lo­gies, risk and disputes, to environmental regulation, Power Purchase Agreements, and real estate and infrastructure projects, we advise clients operationally and strategically. Our track record includes: Advising on the UK’s most advanced carbon capture project in the UK’s first zero-car­bon in­dus­tri­al cluster. BP, Eni, Equinor, Shell and Total have formed a consortium and as­sumed lead­er­ship of the Net Zero Teesside Pro­ject, pre­vi­ously known as the Clean Gas Project. Advising product manufacturers in relation to sustainability laws for on the launch of new broadcast and streaming devices. Advising broadcasting and media pub­lish­ing com­pan­ies in relation to Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting and the Energy Sav­ings Op­por­tun­ity Scheme. Advising various private equity funds, banks and large international manufacturing and real estate organisations such as Columbia Thread­needle Investments, Ametek, and John Laing Infrastructure Fund on en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, carbon and related re­port­ing ob­lig­a­tions across the EU. Advising major banks, insurers and asset managers on principles likely to un­der­pin reg­u­lat­ory frameworks including, EU Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth, Fin­an­cial Stability Board’s Task Force on Cli­mate-re­lated financial disclosures, LMA Green Loan Principles, ICMA Green Bond prin­ciples.
Getting the message across
For media companies, the twin responsibilities of working towards net zero and of conveying the importance of that message to their viewers, readers and consumers requires a carefully calibrated approach. In a sector generally characterised by a high level of competition, the level of co-operation and collaboration between the major participants serves as a role model for others to follow. Global success at COP26 will ultimately be judged by governments’ collective efforts to achieve their goals. Similarly, the media sector may well be judged by its ability to communicate and persuade people to change their behaviour. It is a responsibility they seem well-equipped to manage and one that CMS is actively engaged in helping with.
Climate change coverage
However well the media sector performs in working towards its zero carbon targets by re-evaluating internal processes and corporate behaviour, its greatest beneficial impact arguably rests in its capacity to change societal and consumer behaviour. Here, the media sector has an enormous part to play – through portrayals on screen, in TV shows, news programmes such as Sky’s The Daily Climate Show and documentaries, as well as in advertising. Where broad­casters used to give climate change deniers equal airtime in discussions on the topic, this is no longer the case. Some TV programmes, despite perhaps having a relatively heavy carbon footprint, have served to get important messages about climate change across to many millions of people. To film a nature documentary, the crew has to take their equipment to far flung places, often for weeks or months at a time. However, the beneficial impact of these pro­grammes can dwarf the carbon foot­print in­volved in making them. The net benefit of some of these productions – Blue Planet II being an obvious example – has therefore been exponentially higher than the actual carbon footprint created because they have educated so many people about the horrendous impact of climate change on animal and human hab­it­ats. ‘ITV takes issues which are on the edge of the mainstream and makes them main­stream,’ says Braun. When it comes to making climate change mainstream, nothing can surpass COP26 which is to be hosted by the UK in Glasgow. COP is shorthand for conference of the parties under the United Na­tions Frame­work Convention on Climate Change (UN­FC­CC). This year’s meeting, COP26, will officially open on 31 October with more than 120 world leaders attending as they seek to find ways to reduce GHG emissions and deliver on the ambitions set out in the Paris Agreement and the Convention. Under the 1992 UNFCCC, every country is treaty-bound to “avoid dangerous climate change”. ‘We talk about our social purpose plans at ITV, our ability as a platform to reflect and shape culture,’ says Braun. ‘On the first day of COP26, we’ve got Climate Action Day on ITV, our main channel. So, from six o’clock in the morning through to 10:30 at night, the entire day is going to have a climate action theme within the programmes and the advertising breaks.’
Live sport
When the pandemic hit BT Sport, they decided to ac­cel­er­ate re­mote production. ‘A football match, pre-pandemic, nor­mally in­volved several outside broadcast vehicles,’ says Garber. ‘For example, one for the slow-motion replays, a second to manage the presentation and a third to cover the match: the dir­ect­or call­ing the cameras. In addition to these sizeable vehicles, there is a tender, which carries all the equipment, a dining bus, and another to manage onscreen graphics. They have to accommodate a very large TV crew. Because of technology enhancements, many of these people and their kit can now be somewhere else. ‘So, you send your camera team, presenters and commentators, but almost everybody else – replays, graphics, director, producer and assistant producers – can be hundreds of miles away in a production control room. We call them Remote Operations Centres (ROCs), like outside broadcast trucks, but with no wheels. You have an ROC in a central location which the crew go to match after match, instead of travelling all over the coun­try. That’s remote production. In addition to our Stratford studio, we plan to build centres in Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow. So we can still use the people we want, but they have less distance to travel. Crew travel and kit movements have been much reduced: that’s been a very positive sustainability by-product of the pandemic.’In a sign that the trend is spreading further into sport, Sky and Tottenham re­cently partnered for the world’s first major net zero carbon football game against Chelsea. Pub­li­city for the Premier League match included the following: ‘#GameZero will demon­strate the green steps that the sporting world can take to work towards a zero­car­bon fu­ture; #GameZero partners want the game to raise awareness of the threat of climate change and inspire fans to make simple changes that will help reduce their carbon footprint.'
Advertising: proactive steps
As one of the key regulators in the media sector, The Advertising Stand­ards Au­thor­ity (ASA) has, historically, been more reactive than proactive. But this has changed. ‘The move from reactive to proactive is a journey we’ve been on since 2014,’ says Guy Parker, the ASA’s Chief Executive. ‘We’ve made really big strides. Far less of our resource is now spent dealing reactively with complaints from the public.’ Part of that shift involves climate change. ‘For the ASA, the focus is: what contribution should ad­vert­ising regulations make to us hitting the climate change targets that we have set ourselves, which have become more demanding with the 78% carbon reduction by 2035 target,’ he says. The challenge, notes Parker, is to identify the priority areas that the ASA should look at. ‘Where humans are contributing to bad environmental im­pacts: avi­ation, food, cars and heating are four big areas that have been identified as priorities for behavioural change in various reports by the Climate Change Committee, among others,’ he says. ‘That gives us a steer on where we should be look­ing.’ Park­er adds: ‘The ASA tries to reflect society, rather than socially engineer society. This government and future governments are going to be legally held to some incredibly demanding climate change targets. That makes our life easier because the case for change has been made. We then have to decide, looking at the evidence, being thoughtful, tak­ing sound­ings from experts, what that change looks like. There’s a legitimate question about whether ad regulation needs to play a part in that change. Busi­nesses want to do the right thing, and promote more sustainable behaviour, not because they’re held to that by a code that we police, but because it fits with their ESG strategy, their com­mit­ments, and their contracts with their con­sumers.’ Last November, the Advertising Association (AA) launched its Ad Net Zero plan, which aims to get the advertising industry to commit to minimise its carbon footprint in the creation of ads. This year, the ASA and CAP are undertaking a Climate Change and the En­vir­on­ment pro­ject, taking stock of the rules reg­u­lat­ing en­vir­on­ment­al claims (some guidance having recently been issued by the CMA). ‘We’re not just looking at green claims, we’re also looking at broad­er en­vir­on­ment­al messages, unsustainable con­sumer be­ha­viours, the extent to which advertising is contributing to that,’ says Parker. ‘In the next few years, it will be universally accepted that ad regulation has a role to play, where it doesn’t at the moment.’ But there is only so much that the ASA can do, even on a more proactive basis without le­gis­lat­ive change. Stuart Helmer, head of advertising and marketing at CMS London, comments: “We have seen reg­u­lat­ors, including the ASA, taking a firmer line against unsubstantiated environmental claims in recent years. Often this benefits big brands, who can get wild claims often made by dis­ruptor com­pan­ies taken down. But a realignment of advertising regulation to discourage over­con­sump­tion gen­er­ally would be a significant step beyond the ASA’s normal function of cur­tail­ing mis­lead­ing advertising, and could have far-reach­ing ef­fects on the industry. While there is only so much that the ASA can do, even on a more pro­act­ive basis, without legislative change, the CMA’s re­cent pub­lic­a­tion of guidance on greenwashing may indicate a firmer line from the ASA’s “back­stop” reg­u­lat­or. Advertisers should keep a close eye on the outcome of the ASA review.”
Internal focus
ITV has formalised its net zero target in an annual production plan. ‘We’ve installed an environmental data platform which provides transparency on our carbon emissions,’ says Braun. ‘It’s very detailed work and quite painstaking: we need to look at emissions from offices based in 13 territories around the world which might have multiple sites. In the UK, we have more than 110 sites.’ Garber outlines BT Sport’s approach. ‘It’s important to start from the top down,’ he says. ‘We put our senior leadership team through carbon literacy awareness training, which has an immediate impact on how they view their place in the world and how they can help. Training is extremely important to get everybody on board. Train the senior team, then work down. Albert was very helpful because they provide free training to the media industry. Once that happens, everybody is playing for the same team in trying to make a difference. Then you do simple things, like giving everybody a flask and a coffee cup. ‘Our core business is sports production. How do you produce the content? The first thing is to apply everything you do in the studio to when you’re out on the road or making programmes – at outside broadcasts, things like catering, single use plastic.’ It’s really important to bring your supply chains with you, he notes. ‘The worst thing is to say to your suppliers: we’re sustainable now, so you’ve got to be. End of conversation. That’s not the way to do it. Instead, tell them: we’re a sustainable company now, or certainly trying to be, we’d love it if you were too. Let’s see how we can work together to get you to a point that we’re all happy with.’ Going green ‘isn’t free’, he notes, ‘it costs someone money some­where.’ This year, Garber received a press release from Sky Sports about their target to go 100% Green D Plus biofuel in outside broadcast generators in a matter of weeks. ‘I sent an email to the head of sustainability at Sky and said: this is amazing, how are you going to do it? She sent me the details of their action plan. I phoned Telegenic – our outside broadcast supplier – and said: Can we do what Sky is doing? Telegenic said: yes, we can. Six weeks after their initial press release, we hit the same target as Sky. It’s so important that we share knowledge across the sector even if we’re competitors.’ But, Garber cautions: ‘We’ve got to be careful not to preach. We recognise we’re not perfect and shouldn’t pretend that we are. The crime is saying nothing because you’re too frightened you will be caught out.’ At a practical level, both ITV and BT Sport would ideally like their staff and freelancers to use electric vehicles. But until the up-front cost drops and the range of EVs increases this is not yet feasible.
Calculation in practice
‘Albert has helped us,’ says Fergus Garber, Director of Production at BT Sport. ‘The principle of awarding a sustainability certificate – and being able to attach it to the credits as a badge of honour for your programme – is very clever: it’s what all the broadcasters want. It’s a huge achievement when you get one since it really incentivises the production companies to be greener, to achieve that certificate.’ Braun adds: ‘Albert certification is what we mandate all ITV Studios programmes and all of our commissioned programmes to go through. The Albert system is smart in its simplicity and practical in a very granular way. At the beginning of a production, you use their carbon calculator, estimate what your carbon footprint will be by putting in the number of days you’ll be in an edit suite, or the number of flights you might take. If you’re shooting abroad, the hotels you’re staying in. That produces your carbon foot­print. ‘You then need to determine how it can be reduced. That might be reducing travel, changing the way that the production is filmed to give you fewer days, for example. You submit your new carbon footprint, which shows the reductions you’ve implemented. You then have to offset through the Albert offsetting scheme, run by Natural Capital Partners, and provide BAFTA with evidence of what you’ve done. ‘In working with our procurement team, we’ve taken our top 200 emitters: how much we are spending with them and calculating what the emissions factor will be as a result. We then looked at those 200 suppliers in more detail, asking each of them: Can you tell us about your climate action plan? Do you have a net zero plan? What are you doing to reduce your carbon? Are you running on renewable energy?’ This can then be factored into contract negotiations. ‘Beyond recognising carbon net zero as an objective, media organisations – along with all companies – working with their suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint need to know what they should put into their contracts to achieve the desired outcomes and monitor progress, as well as knowing what kinds of contracts they might start to see that they haven’t seen before’ says Victoria Gaskell, co-head of the media practice at CMS.
So, what are media companies doing to address the challenge of meeting these targets at a corporate level? Their response is calibrated to accommodate two distinct elements: the activities of media companies themselves and those of their suppliers and freelancers, who comprise a significant portion of workers in this sector, particularly in production and journalism. A concerted effort exists among the major broadcasters to address both with equal vigour. Earlier this year, Netflix pledged to achieve net zero GHG emissions by the end of 2022. In common with the BBC, Sky and Channel 4, ITV has a net zero emissions target by 2030. ‘It’s been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi),’ says Susie Braun, Director of Social Purpose at ITV. ‘We look at our competitors in terms of targets they might set for programmes they’re commissioning to understand how successful they are, and which audience they reach,’ she says. But on climate change and the media sector’s response to it, collaboration is seen as key. ‘On climate action, the TV sector is incredibly col­lab­or­at­ive,’ says Braun. ‘We share so many of the same suppliers: it doesn’t make sense to set different standards for a small production company to meet Sky’s standards, but not ITV or BBC standards. We want to make it easy for suppliers to meet standards that we need them to meet. We work together with them to achieve that.’ She adds: ‘All the broadcasters meet under the Albert auspices when it comes to sustainability. We are very happy to share information and work together to achieve our aims.’John Enser, media partner at CMS, explains: ‘For broadcasting, the key organisation is Albert, which does all the cer­ti­fic­a­tion.’ Founded in 2011 and governed by an industry consortium under the aegis of BAFTA, Albert is a sustainability project, which acts as the authority on environmental sustainability for film and TV. Its directorate members are BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky, Netflix and BT Sport. Critically, Albert provides a system of carbon calculation and sustainability certifications for media companies.
UK and EU Targets
At a governmental level, national governments and the European Commission have produced a series of targets. Olivia Jamison, specialist environment partner at CMS, outlines the context. ‘For the last 40 odd years, we’ve had various EU laws focused on waste, emissions and energy efficiency,’ she says. ‘In the last 10 to 15 years, they have been increased layer on layer. Now we’re at a point where targets are becoming more tangible with requirements frontloaded rather than end of pipe.’In the UK, the Climate Change Act 2008 originally committed the UK to an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. In 2019, the Government amended that Act committing the UK to achieve net zero by 2050, rather than the 80% reduction target. In April this year, the Government further heightened its ambition, announcing that it “will set the world’s most ambitious climate change target” to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035. Further regulation is coming. ‘In the UK, we have some existing environmental reporting requirements for certain types of businesses including more recently streamlined energy and carbon reporting, and mandatory climate related reporting for quoted or larger businesses is expected to apply from April 2022,’ says Jamison. ‘Meanwhile the EU has launched the European Green Deal – a set of policy initiatives and legal proposals by the European Commission. The original commitment was to reach climate neutrality across the EU by 2050: an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emission. In both jurisdictions, there have recently been additional announcements for new legal targets by 2030.‘The UK now has a target of a 68% reduction by 2030, and the EU, at least a 55% reduction by 2030, bringing forward reduction targets by 10 to 15 years in each case. This requires really transformational change, the likes of which we have never seen previously.’ For business, the transformation will certainly be huge. ‘It will impact all sectors of business in everything that they do,’ she says. ‘Although the UK is being more ambitious, the EU is setting this out in a very distinct framework, which means that it is slightly easier for businesses to understand what is expected of them.’ The recent publication of the UK’s Net Zero Strategy is intended to provide more clarity on the changes required to meet the UK’s reduction target. Importantly, in addition to those efforts, adaptation and mitigation measures will be crucial for businesses to factor into their activities and that of their value chain.