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Author Topic: SuperStock bankrupt, owes contributors $USD1.2 million  (Read 5514 times)

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« on: December 06, 2008, 17:37 »
from psdonline ...
SuperStock Bankrupt; Masterfile In Deal To Acquire U.S. Assets
Dec 4, 2008

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By Daryl Lang

Long-suffering stock photo distributor SuperStock has filed for bankruptcy, leaving its contributors in the lurch and opening the way for rival Masterfile to acquire the agencys U.S. assets for $1.5 million.

Under SuperStock's bankruptcy plan, Masterfile or whoever ultimately acquires SuperStock will have the option of taking over some, all or none of SuperStocks contracts with 1,200 photographers. SuperStock owed about $1,162,000 in royalties to photographers at the end of September, according to a court filing.

Photographers may see their contracts turned over to Masterfile, sold to some other company or terminated altogether. If a photographers contract is terminated, any royalties paid are likely to be pennies on the dollar. SuperStock's parent company estimates there will be enough money to cover only 4 percent of its debts to unsecured creditors.

Whatever the eventual outcome, it is another headache for stock photographers, who are already dealing with declining prices, changing contracts and industry consolidation.

On December 4, the holding company that owns SuperStock, A21, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the United States Bankruptcy Court in Jacksonville, Florida, where the company is based. The filing covers the U.S. division of SuperStock and the other company A21 owns, a poster and merchandise seller called ArtSelect. Together, the companies employed about 150 people at the end of 2007.

A21 was founded in 1998 and has never had a profitable year. In recent years it has been a revolving door for managers. Since 2006, A21 has lost a founder/CEO, chairman/president, chief financial officer, and chief creative officer.

The bankruptcy plan will see A21 divesting everything it owns.

A21 says Masterfile has agreed to buy SuperStocks U.S. operations for $1.5 million. The Toronto-based stock agency, an established company with a good reputation among photographers, has put down a $50,000 deposit on the deal, A21 says. But the deal could change if the bankruptcy court finds somebody willing to pay more.

SuperStocks U.K. division is not in bankruptcy, but A21 says it plans to sell that division to a third party as well. As yet, that party has not been named.

A21 plans to sell ArtSelect to a New Jersey company called Metaverse for $700,000. A21 paid about $10 million for ArtSelect in May 2006.

« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2008, 03:19 »
I wonder when masterfile will venture into microstock.  interview with ceo (the one that also had yuri / andres & others) basically said they were opposed but now see its value (well thats the way I remember it). One of the few big players without a micro stake.


« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2009, 15:17 »
The latest. Superstock is sold but no one knows if photographers will ever get paid. New owner did not buy the contracts.

"As a publicly traded company, Superstock had never achieved profitability."

« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2009, 15:56 »
The latest. Superstock is sold but no one knows if photographers will ever get paid. New owner did not buy the contracts.

"As a publicly traded company, Superstock had never achieved profitability."

I think it is safe to say that the photographers will never get paid. They are on the bottom of the to-get-paid list. I have a huge stack of envelopes from bankruptcy court that I long ago quite opening.


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