December 7th, 2012

Sipa Wins Reprieve to Find New Owner

A French court has decided to put Sipa Press under bankruptcy protection while the photo agency searches for a new owner, according to a report today in Le Journal de la Photographie.

Sipa Press, which was founded in 1973 and has been the French distributor for AP, Rex Features and other international agencies, faced the possibility of a court order to liquidate its assets after it declared bankruptcy in late November. The legendary photo agency was forced to file bankruptcy after its parent company–DAPD, a German media company–ran out of money and declared bankruptcy on October 2 in Berlin.

Two other French-based subsidiaries of DAPD that declared bankruptcy with Sipa Press have been forced to liquidate, Le Journal de la Photographie reports. More details are available on their web site.

Related stories:
Sipa Press Files for Bankruptcy
Sipa Press Founder Goksin Sipahioglu Dies

November 27th, 2012

Sipa Press Files for Bankruptcy

News photo agency Sipa Press has filed for bankruptcy in Paris, following the bankruptcy of its parent company in Germany in October. The fate of the photo agency–including the possibility of liquidation–will be decided by a French court on December 6, according to Le Journal de la Photographie.

Sipa, which was founded in 1973 and is currently the French distributor for Associated Press, Rex Features and other international agencies, was acquired in July 2011 by DAPD, a German media company. DAPD was established in 2010 with ambitions to compete against more established news services in France and Germany. In addition to the Sipa Press acquisition, DAPD had launched two other companies–Sipa News, a wire service providing both news reports and photos, and French Language Service (FLS), a French-language wire service staffed by journalists formerly with Associated Press in France.

But DAPD ran out of money, and declared bankruptcy in Berlin on October 2. DAPD was one of eight subsidiaries of a larger holding company– HQTA AG–that ran short of cash and declared bankruptcy at the same time. Three hundred employees were affected. The German government has stepped in to pay their salaries, and HQTA says it will lay off 100 employees by December 1.

Meanwhile, the bankruptcy of DAPD left Sipa Press, Sipa News and FLS without enough money to operate, forcing DAPD’s representative in France to declare bankruptcy on behalf of the Sipa group and its owners, according to the report in Le Journal de Photographie. The 127 employees of the three companies have been told their November salaries will be cut in half, and paid in mid-December.

Le Journal de Photographie speculates that Sipa Press will be put under receivership (court-appointed management) and reorganized, while Sipa News is likely to be liquidated.

Sipa Press was launched in 1973 by Goksin Sipahioglu. Along with Gamma and Sygma, it was part of a triumvirate of once-legendary French picture agencies. But all three agencies fell on hard times during the 1990s because of changing technology and markets. Sygma was acquired by Corbis, but was eventually liquidated. Gamma merged with Rapho, another French photo agency, and is now part of an consortium called Eyedea, which was rescued from bankruptcy in 2010.

Related:
Sipa Press Founder Goksin Sipahioglu Dies

August 23rd, 2012

Kodak to Sell Off Film and Photo Paper Business (Update)

Eastman Kodak plans to sell off  its film and photographic paper businesses in an effort to emerge from bankruptcy, the Wall Street Journal reports. In an announcement on Thursday, Kodak chief executive officer Antonio Perez said the company is seeking buyers for its film and photo paper business and its digital image processing kiosks and scanners. The company plans to focus on inkjet printing, Perez said Thursday.  Among the businesses Kodak will keep, according to a statement on Kodak’s web site, are “Consumer inkjet, Entertaining Imaging, Commercial Film and Specialty Chemical businesses.” Kodak’s “commercial film” business refers to aerial photography, surveillance and other industrial and government uses.

Perez said the company wants to complete the sale by the first half of 2013, when the company hopes to emerge from bankruptcy. Kodak, once the leading manufacturer of film, sought bankruptcy protection in January 2012.

Perez declined to say how much Kodak hoped to net from the sales of its film, paper and other businesses. Also unclear: Who will buy these businesses.

When Kodak filed for bankruptcy, the company said it planned to raise money by selling off roughly 1,000 digital imaging patents. However Businessweek reports that those negotiations have dragged on.  The sale of its core business is a new effort to pay off debts and pull Kodak out of bankruptcy.

Professional photographer may find it bittersweet that Kodak’s U.S. professional film revenues rose 20 percent in 2011. However, as demand for consumer and motion picture film continued to decline worldwide, the company faced challenges taking advantage of economies of scale. Earlier this year, Scott DiSabato, who was Kodak’s U.S. marketing manager for professional film, told PDN that Kodak’s factories and distribution facilities “were built decades ago for a much bigger traditional photographic market.” DiSabato added at the time that though positive signs in the U.S. pro film market were promising,  “It’s going to be hard to ever justify the investment necessary to right-size this when [the overall film market] is declining.” DiSabato has since left Kodak.

For more, see our full news article on PDNOnline.

Related stories

PDNOnline: Kodak to Sell Film and Photo Paper Business

Kodak Files for Bankruptcy

The Future of Film 

 

February 9th, 2012

Kodak Ceases Camera Production Amid Bankruptcy

In a statement posted on the Kodak Web Site under the title “Update on Kodak’s Transformation,” the company announced that it will cease producing digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames “to focus its Consumer Business on desktop inkjet, online and retail-based printing—areas that offer the most significant opportunities for profitable growth. Kodak will continue to offer camera accessories and batteries, which are universally compatible with other brands,” the statement said.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “The move during the first half of the year should save more than $100 million a year, and Kodak expects to book a $30 million charge from exiting the business.”

The statement also said that it was “likely” that some of the cameras, video cameras and digital frames it announced at CES would not be launched.

Eastman Kodak Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 19, 2012. In its filing in US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, the company reported that it has $6.8 billion in debt and $5.1 billion in assets. Kodak has struggled for years as the photography business has moved to digital photography.

Related: Kodak Files for Bankruptcy Protection
Kodak Shares Below $1, Could Be Delisted From NYSE

January 19th, 2012

Kodak Files for Bankruptcy Protection

After months of speculation, film company Eastman Kodak Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. In its filing in US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, the company reported that it has $6.8 billion in debt and $5.1 billion in assets. Kodak has struggled for years as photography moved from film to digital photography.
The company also announced it had secured a $950 million loan from Citigroup to help operate during bankruptcy, Bloomberg News reports.
If its filing is approved by a bankruptcy judge, the company would continue operating while it re-negotiates its debt with its creditors.
For more, see our news story on PDNOnline.com.
This is breaking news and will be updated on PDNOnline.com.