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French court orders Sipa news agency closed

PARIS (AP) -- A French court has ordered the liquidation of the text service of the Sipa news agency, and bankruptcy protection for its photo service.

Sipa announced the decision Thursday 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 ceased 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 earlier this year. The Sipa text operation employs 50 staff journalists plus about a dozen stringers.

A bankruptcy administrator will be assigned to the Sipa photo service, created in 1973 and currently France's No. 2 photo agency, to try to find new investors.