Don;t Know What to do about Bella Photos

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FranticBride Posts : 2 Registered: 5/3/11
Don;t Know What to do about Bella Photos
Posted: May 3, 2011 7:39 PM

HELP Lsdies,

my fh and I booked Bella pictures for our wedding pix. But now I heared a rumor they are bankrupt and sold their stuff to another company. I cslled my rep but she has not gotten back to me since I called an hour ago. The deal from Bella is just so good and I don't have a lot of money for a photographer. They had a deal for $1000. Now that I hear they might not be there, I just don't know what to do? Should I bok another photographer. I'm just so upset I dun't know what todo.Any advice?
Thanks,
Fantic Bride

Just ME

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Don;t Know What to do about Bella Photos
Posted: May 3, 2011 8:54 PM Go to message in response to: FranticBride

dear FB,

I work in the financial industry. I have a contact who knows someone who knows someone.

I will copy, verbatim, without names or other identifying info, the body of a message I received.

quote:

If you remember Celebration studio collapse from 6 years ago, you'll remember all the heartache that went with it. Well I'm in a situation now where it looks like something similar is happening to Bella on a national scale which will make Celebration look like a bump in the road.

Briefly, last January CPIcorp acquired Bella. The CPI's Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) 8-K filing paints a strange story(filed 2/1/11). CPI creates a new Bella (B2) of which they own 95% stake. The preferred owners of B1 get the remaining 5%. Now this is where it gets interesting. CPI didn't pay a thing! B2 gets all the assets from B1, incomplete wedding contracts plus $1M. All of the liabilities are left with the old company.

Yesterday I had a chance to sit down to read the amended 8-K/A filing. B1 lost $42 in 2008, 2009 and the first three quarters of 2010. The statement of operations shows they can't make money operating the company. Cost of sales is anywhere from 50% to 60% of Net revenues. Sales Marketing and General expenses exceed Net Revenue.

Frankly unless CPI can figure out how to drastically trim expenses or increase revenue without associated costs Bella will be bankrupt. The accountants' statement even says they have concerns about Bella continuing as an on-going concern.

Meanwhile, there are rumors that Bella photographers have not been paid in 8 weeks. Some are not going to shoot unless they are paid. Right now the word is starting to get out to the photographer community.

If you'd like to personally review my findings you can check www.cpicorp.com, click on investor. Next click on SEC filing on the right. Finally take a look at the 8-K/A filed on 4/13/11. The original 8-K is several pages later on 2/1/11.

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MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Don;t Know What to do about Bella Photos
Posted: May 3, 2011 10:33 PM Go to message in response to: Aunt

Hello Frantic,

I'm sorry to hear you about your concerns. First let me stick with documented facts and then continue on with my opinions.

In part of keeping track of my competition, I did study the SEC filings of CPI's acquisition of Bella because it was the first time any photographer could get a look at Bella's finances. Previously Bella was a privately held company and not required to file any financial reports. All that changed when they became a part of CPI.

Currently, Bella is not, nor have they filed for bankruptcy protection. However, the SEC filings do show a company which lost $42 million in almost 3 years. Operationally (removing interest and other expenses from the ledger), Bella still lost over $35 million in the same period. The auditors even stated they were concerned about Bella as an on-going enterprise. They further stated Bella had never made a profit since its inception.

Once the deal between the companies closes, the unfulfilled contracts from Bella Pictures will be completed by Bella Holding/CPI. All of the old contracts will be transferred to the new company. All of this and more is disclosed in CPI's SEC filings concerning their acquisition of Bella.

What follows now is my OPINION.

I expect the old company to file for bankruptcy protection. The venture capitalists who started Bella might even be responsible for paying some of the debt.

My main concern is for Bella's current and future clients. CPI has to figure out how to trim millions of dollars from Bella's expenses. But what can CPI do which the old Bella didn't already attempt? Even without the interest expenses, there will operational expenses. Once again the accountants stated in the SEC filing there are certain assumptions which if they fail to occur will place a strain upon the company. In other words, I think Bella has to continue booking events at a certain rate in order to continue to function.

The SEC filing states CPI was PAID $1M-$1.5M in cash to acquire Bella. That money is needed to cover the liabilities they assumed on the open contracts. They are going to have to use that money plus the money from weddings which have yet to pay to cover their expenses(albums, employee salaries, artists, etc.). If you remember the Celebration Studios situation, current weddings were being used to pay for albums for past weddings.

I also seem to remember Bella has a unique policy/contract term which allows a client to cancel the contract without penalty and a full refund. If the rate of bookings were to suddenly decrease or people started to cancel in large numbers and sought a refund, then I don't think Bella will be able to continue in business. I just don't see CPI's shareholders tolerating a division losing money without a prospect of any profits.

Now what does all that mean to the bride? I was personally involved with the Celebration Studios collapse 5-6 years ago. It all started with a trickle and a couple of rumors. Next, we had clients banding together to compare notes. In the end, the studio closed, leaving many couples with nothing. I'd hate for history to repeat itself. But this brings us to the prisoners' dilemma. If clients don't abandon Bella, they might be able to survive. However, if they leave in droves, they might not. I can't tell anybody what to do. That decision is entirely yours.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography


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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Don;t Know What to do about Bella Photos
Posted: May 4, 2011 5:22 PM Go to message in response to: FranticBride

Just to let you know:

When I was planning my wedding four years ago (wow, can't believe it's been that long), I initially signed up with Bella. I subsequently changed my mind, and got the FULL refund back. So, if I were you, I'd re-read my contract and go over my options.

Also, just to let you know, part of the reason I became uncomfortable with Bella was the high employee turnover. In the four months I did have them, my personal customer service rep changed twice. I simply did not feel that person-to-person connection that I wanted to have in my photographer. I say this because, judging from how long you are anxiously waiting, it doesn't look like their customer service has improved that much.

Good luck.

__________________________________________

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson

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Soon2BMrsOrtiz1... Posts : 10 Registered: 5/2/11
Re: Don;t Know What to do about Bella Photos
Posted: May 4, 2011 7:21 PM Go to message in response to: FranticBride

What state/location are you getting married in? If you are in Orange County area, I have a few photographers I can recommend that are near your price range and one that is less then what you have paid...

<3 The Future Mrs. Ortiz


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FranticBride Posts : 2 Registered: 5/3/11
Re: Don;t Know What to do about Bella Photos
Posted: May 11, 2011 4:52 PM Go to message in response to: Soon2BMrsOrtiz1...

Hi all,

Sorry for the delay but my computers busted and I got to use the one at the library. I git thar about once a week. My rep is gone and nobody has taken her place yet. I don't know who to ask for my money back. Were gitting married in Vegas so I'll find somebody there. It was just so much easier to talk to a Bella rep here at home for a Vegas wedding. Hopefully, i can find somebody. I'll keep you posted.

Just ME

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MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Don;t Know What to do about Bella Photos
Posted: May 11, 2011 10:21 PM Go to message in response to: FranticBride

Hello,

Unfortunately, yours is a common complaint when dealing with a large national studio. That is, employees quit, get transferred or move onto other positions. In the end, the result is the same, the person you thought you were dealing. I sincerely hope everything your rep promised you is written in your contract. Otherwise, I'm afraid the studio may not honor the prior rep's promises.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography


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petesgrl73 Posts : 4 Registered: 5/4/11
Re: Don;t Know What to do about Bella Photos
Posted: Jun 9, 2011 4:52 PM Go to message in response to: FranticBride

there are many good photographers in the Las Vegas area and I would be more then happy to give you a list of them. I live in Las Vegas and will be getting married in Las Vegas too.

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Kimberly212 Posts : 972 Registered: 9/12/12
Re: Don;t Know What to do about Bella Photos
Posted: Sep 17, 2012 4:57 PM Go to message in response to: FranticBride

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