As revealed by Le Journal de la Photographie, Sipa Press is one of three companies to have filed for bankruptcy protection on 22 November. Sipa Press is part of the Sipa Group that also includes the newly created Sipa News and FLS Ltd. Sipa Group is owned by German media company Dapd.
According to Agence France-Presse, Dapd is now fighting for survival in Germany and, as a result, Sipa has seen its links with its owners severed when two of its shareholders, Martin Vorderwülbecke and Peter Löw, stopped returning the agency's calls.
Faced with an uncertain future, Sipa's president, Olivier Mégean, has been forced to refer Sipa News, which was formed in the summer to compete against AFP, Sipa Press and FLS Ltd to a French court for bankruptcy protection. The court is expected to reach a decision on 06 December. In the meantime, however, Sipa Group's 127 employees will only receive half of their November salaries in mid-December, according to Michel Puech of Le Journal de la Photographie.
"The blow is hard for everyone, but it might be fatal for the 30 journalists hired by Sipa News to support the 20 journalists who joined from Associated Press France," write Puech. "These journalists are virtually assured of losing their jobs on 06 December. The company will no doubt be liquidated by the court. It has no assets and no revenue, only expenses."
Sipa Press founder Gökşin Sipahioğlu helped launched the careers of photojournalists such as Abbas, Luc Delahaye, Alexandra Boulat and Patrick Chauvel, among many others. He died in October 2011.
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