The entry below is a crude Google Translate adaptation of the article by Michel Puech to be published tomorrow in Le Journal De la Photographie. I unfortunately do not have the time to clean up the translation but thought it was important enough to publish as is.

Monday, January 21, 2013, Mr. Poli, judicial administrator, will be on his desk proposals of candidates for the resumption of Sipa Press in judicial recovery since 6 December 2012. The quality of these offerings will depend the future of the agency.

Since late December 2012, twenty lawyers and / or companies have asked the dossier to Master Poli, judicial administrator “charged with a mission of assistance” under the receivership.

A “scary situation”

According to legal statements to the Tribunal de Commerce de Paris, the 2011 revenue of Sipa press is 9613 k € with seventy eight employees. The reported loss of € 5,962 k twice in 2010, when there was still ninety-five employees. Recovery of Sipa Press, owned by Southern Communication (Pierre Fabre), DAPD by Media Holding AG, was the occasion of a redundancy plan that reduced the number to sixty-one employees, including eight photographers. But the disruption introduced by the speech “going to war” German investors and the failure of their project text and picture agency to compete AFP News called Sipa, has certainly had a negative impact on turnover Business 2012.

Happened in July 2012 at the head of different companies included or created by the two investors German DAPD, Olivier Mégean was confronted in the month of October in their disappearance. In fact, the pair had to file for bankruptcy in Berlin eight of their holding companies constituting the DAPD.Today DAPD Media Holding renamed HQTA would have no link with Sipa press …

By resigning their mandates and commitments, German investors led Sipa press a termination payment dated 22 November 2012. While the two companies liquidated Sipa News and FLS France, the Commercial Court has placed the photo agency in receivership December 6, 2012 with an observation period of three months, until March 6, 2013. But this date is virtual, because to go that far, it is still necessary that Sipa press can meet its commitments, including paying its employees!

You need to go as soon as possible. Master Poli, judicial administrator, fixed January 21, 2013 the “deadline” for the buyers occur while their cases are managed at the end December 2012.

Who can save Sipa press?

As we mentioned in a previous article dated December 6, 2012, among the potential candidates to find men who are already present at the beginning of 2010 receivership Group Eyedea (Gamma, Rapho, Keystone etc.): Jean-Michel Psaila Bruno and Cassajus agency Abaca, François Lochon Gamma-Rapho, Frank Ulmann Verdoso of Media and Philippe Bigart. Eveno Bertrand, former director of Hachette Filippachi Photo is removed from the world of photo agencies.

Lochon François, who, in April 2010, masterfully over the assets of Eyedea, is tempted by the synergy archives with those of Gamma Sipa but it does not seem to be able to raise the necessary funds only estimated according to several sources “in minimum of 1.5 million. “

Too much money for the owner of Gamma-Rapho, which he asserts to present a balanced over the year 2012, has not achieved this goal with the first year (April 2010-December 2011). It posted a loss of € 596 k to 5656 k € of turnover.François Lochon seems determined not only to put his hand in his pocket to save Sipa press, even if their personal financial situation is comfortable.

In Abaca, hesitation is also very high. With a profit of € 38 k for a turnover in 2011 of € 6,536 k, the agency can not invest all the money necessary for the resumption of Sipa press. He would also find a financial partner to complete the transaction.A proposal Abaca + + Gamma-Rapho Bigart still seemed possible last week, but Philip Bigart arranged in a first time to put 1M € in the case said he quit.

“We have not studied the issue” said Franck Ullmann me of Verdoso Media, despite the persistent rumors about a possible partnership with the agency KCS Press whose last three fiscal years (2010, 2009 and 2008) show a turnover around € 3 m and benefits of the order of 200 k €. “We had the back very late, and this case is not simple,” says David Ker, its director, who adds: “Yes, we are studying but it is still too early to say if we make an offer . 

Chicheportiche Michel, director of the new agency and former News pictures “seller” historic Sipa press has likewise requested file. “But it is above my means” he says, before adding, “Obviously, I am ready to help Sipa, within my skills. 

Agence France Presse has also asked to participate in the “data room” … Even if you can imagine that the AFP has a time been frightened by the prospect of competition project Sipa News, fear confirmed by down some of its prices, it seems quite unlikely that the agency of the Place de la Bourse launches a takeover of Sipa press.

From Getty Images, “no comment” as usual. It is likely that they have also asked to see a folder … “We follow all the developments in the market in all countries” laconically told the Paris office.

As for the “historical agents” Sipa Press, Rex Feature Ltd. London, Brussels or Isopix Scanpix Stockholm, their presence could make sense in a proposal led by the Deputy Director General of historical Sipa Press, Mete Zhinoglu. But following clumsy confidences of his intention not to resume photographers, the latter would, against all logic, compared to a “de facto leader”. Situation that prevents him from being a candidate for a reversal of the agency in which he worked from an early age, and he knows all the inner workings and secrets.

In the profession, rumors are rife, as Sipa was a star of French photojournalism twentieth century. Bernard Tapie is hiding behind a lawyer, one or two Chinese were in the race … The name of Xavier Niel telecoms operator Free is also advanced.We do not lend to the rich!

One thing is certain, nobody, so far, we have not confirmed his real interest in the resumption of Sipa press while proposals must be received by Monday Poli Master!

The hypothesis of a straightforward liquidation agency founded in 1973 by Göksin Sipahioglu can not be excluded, resulting in the dismissal of the sixty-one employees (including 6 protected by corporate offices) and the possible escheat a photographic collection of millions of images representing fifty years of world history.

In this case, it is Master Gorrias, legal representative, that would be the task of finding a buyer for the tables, computers and 14 million photographs in countless rows workbooks in the basement of the boulevard Murat …

Or, is somewhat disturbing, Master Gorrias always on the arms, so to speak, without a buyer, a significant part of the photographic collection of the Sygma agency, following the bankruptcy of Corbis Sygma May 25, 2010.

This stock has been carefully sorted by Corbis who did sign contracts with the best photographers Corbis U.S. agency created by Hubert Henrotte. We do not know exactly what is in the “bunker” of Normandy … One thing is certain, photographers, because they have claimed their right to the property of movies, can not now legally entitled to own. A lesson for photojournalists Sipa.

Without the criminal complaint for “the offense of organizing fraudulent insolvency, breach of good social and breach of trust”, filed in December 2011 by five photographers Corbis Sygma against, since June 2012 complaint investigated by the judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke This fund might also be carefully stored.

Funds Sipa press, which include, in addition to the images of photographers and countless freelance employees, archives agency Delmas, Eclair Film and some other former agencies, they sleep, too, in the years warehouse before being sold off or destroyed? The risk is definitely there and can not now be underestimated.

What protection for photographers?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 19h, in Paris, in the premises of the Union of Professional Photographers (UPP), a thirty photographers employees or casual employees Sipa press gathered to hear the advice of Mr. Jean-Louis Lagarde, a lawyer several photographers Sipa and Michel Diard Union of Journalists (SNJ-CGT).

“For you photographers, what matters are your archives which decompose your silver images and digital images. “Master says Lagarde. “For digital images, I guess you have copies of the files, because there are no originals in this technique by cons I draw your attention to your archives silver. 

“These supports must be claimed. The law is very strict. As of the publication of the receivership of Sipa press the Official Bulletin of civil and commercial announcements (BODACC) – for Sipa Press dated January 3, 2013 – you have two times running. One is the time to declare your debt: Sipa you should sum to the date such termination payment (22 November 2012). This claim should not be a problem. Normally we will write to you to tell you to do. 

“By cons, nobody will talk of your ownership rights in silver films and it is very important for you when you want to claim your films and slides. 

“To claim your rights of ownership of the media, you have three months to write to the Master Administrator judicial Poli mentioning the most detailed reports you have made and the number of images. 

“If you do not, you are expropriated. This is a rare case in French law, but it is the law in case of bankruptcy. As for your claim, the administrator has a month to acquiesce to your request. Replied that if you do not own your photos, you have a month to enter Alduy Dominique, Justice Commissioner. And there can not oppose your claim. 

Claim ownership of the materials of his pictures, does not mean out of Sipa press archives. Few photographers have the intention, if the agency continues to live. What would they do?Today, no photo agency does not accept funds scanned for digitization and indexing of pictures too expensive. Therefore, all have an interest in pursuing their business with a buyer, as long as their rights are recognized and dissemination of their images provided.

Today the whole profession is touched by a possible loss of Sipa press, but as we know, feelings and nostalgia, have no place in the operating accounts.

LINKS

 

CONTRIBUTOR

Michel Puech

[Republished with authorization] 

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