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PARIS (AP) - A French court on Thursday ordered the liquidation of the text service of the Sipa news agency and placed its photo service in bankruptcy protection.

Sipa announced the decision by the Paris commercial court. It came after Sipa's owners, Germany-based dapd Media Holding, declared bankruptcy for some of its subsidiaries in Germany in October and stopped financing Sipa's operations.

The French court ordered the liquidation of the two companies that made up the Sipa text service, created after dapd bought the French-language service of The Associated Press this year. The Sipa text operation employs 50 staff journalists and about a dozen stringers.

A bankruptcy administrator will be assigned to the Sipa photo service, called Sipa Press, to try to find new investors.

Sipa Press was created in 1973 by photojournalist Goksin Sipahioglu, and now distributes thousands of photos a day in more than 40 countries. It is France's No. 2 photo agency after Agence France-Presse.

By expanding its activities to include the text service, Sipa had aspired to compete with AFP, the government-subsidized French news agency.

Sipa and the AP remain partners for the distribution of AP photos in France.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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