French photo agency Sipa Press sold to dapd

July 11, 2011

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PARIS—French photo agency Sipa Press has been sold to dapd, the German news agency announced Monday. The price of the transaction with Sud Communication, Sipa's owner, was not disclosed.

"dapd views this purchase as a strategic investment in building up its European network," the German agency said in a statement.

Sipa Press, created in 1973, distributes 6,000 photos in more than 40 countries each day. In 2010, its revenue was close to euro11 million ($15.5 million), according to the dapd statement.

Martin Vorderwulbecke, a co-owner of dapd, said trying times in the news industry means that news agencies must offer text and photos together to prosper.

"We believe that a photo agency, isolated, is not the future," he said.

The purchase means Sipa will have to lay off one-third of its 92 employees, including 16 of 24 photographers at its Paris headquarters, Vorderwulbecke said. Sipa Press will continue as an autonomous brand. Heinrich Ollendiek was appointed manager of Sipa Press.

There has been no decision on how to deal with Sipa Press' substantial photo archives.

"The Sipa archives represent a part of France's cultural patrimony," Vorderwulbecke said. "It is our great desire to make these archives accessible."

dapd, headquartered in Berlin, was created in 2009 when the ddp news agency purchased the former German service of The Associated Press and at the same time licensed AP English text and photos for redistribution in Germany. It currently provides text and images to nearly 700 customers, including the majority of German dailies.