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Rex Features Ltd is a British photographic press agency and photo library, based in London, United Kingdom. REX supplies a daily service of news, celebrity, features, stock photos, and editorial content to newspapers, magazines, TV, book publishing, web and all other media in the UK and in more than 35 countries worldwide.
REX’s website allows professional users access to more than 10,000,000 images, with more than 7000 new images added every day. While its daily production is fully digital, REX’s service is backed by a physical archive stretching back to the early days of photography and containing about 15 million images encompassing a vast range of subjects.
REX : Company profile
REX provides photographic and editorial content to major newspapers, magazines, websites, TV, book publishers and all other media worldwide.
The press agency produces a constant stream of features, comprising ready-made packages of pictures and words, on a wide range of topics, as well as lifestyle, travel, wildlife and other creative and stock imagery.
REX represents many major picture sources including the leading UK celebrity and society photographers Richard Young and David Fisher, the French agency Sipa Press, top US celebrity agency Startraks and Berliner, film stills archives The Everett Collection and Snap Photo Library, The Associated Newspapers archive (Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Evening Standard), television stills libraries including the ITV Archive and the Fremantle Media TV archive, many ITV “reality” and talent shows such as Britain’s Got Talent, Dancing On Ice, The X Factor, I’m A Celebrity - Get Me Out Of Here, plus hundreds of freelance photographers and agencies around the world.
REX has notched up many celebrity and news exclusives over the years, including such high-profile hits as: Liz Taylor and Richard Burton smooching at his 50th birthday party; the first picture of Prince Charles holding hands with Camilla Parker Bowles; world exclusive pictures of Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess in his coffin; pictures transmitted back from Mt. Everest of the discovery of the mummified remains of mountaineer George Mallory.
1954 : REX Established
Rex Features was founded in 1954 by husband-and-wife team Frank Selby (b. Salusinszky Ferenc, Budapest, January 12, 1918) and Elizabeth Selby (b. Elisabeth Guttmann, Berlin, April 1, 1925). The couple retired as joint Managing Directors in 2008.
Both Frank and Elizabeth are from Hungarian roots, and journalism ran in both families—Frank's father Imre Salusinszky was editor-in-chief of Az Est, Hungary's leading newspaper group based in Budapest, while Elizabeth's father, Heinrich (Henry) Guttmann, was a prominent journalist and book author.
In 1925, Guttmann, a Jew and a communist sympathiser, realised the threat posed by the rise of the Nazis and left Germany for Paris with his baby daughter. After a brief return to Germany to tidy up his affairs, he settled in London.
In 1938, Frank travelled to Britain to study at Cambridge, but WWII saw him serve in the British Army for the duration of the war. The teenage Elizabeth had been working for the Free French resistance organisation at its London HQ. After the war she began helping her father to "package" his feature articles, trading as Rex Features, and after she and Frank married in 1948 they merged their respective skills to establish Rex as a full-fledged photo agency.
In early 1954, the couple were asked by a small Paris news agency to sell its pictures in the United Kingdom, and so Rex Features as an international agency was born. Elizabeth ran the business in the front room of the family house in northwest London, while Frank went out to sell to the newspapers and magazines whose offices were concentrated in and around Fleet Street in central London.
1960-1981 : REX History
By the 1960s, REX represented a growing roster of photographers including the renowned showbiz photographer Dezo Hoffmann, and was providing a regular supply of features, news and celebrity pictures to the press in Britain and overseas.
In 1963, the firm opened its first rented offices overlooking London’s central fruit and vegetable market in Covent Garden.
In February 1979, after moving to East Harding Street near Fleet Street, a small fire started by an electrical fault caused extensive smoke damage to the company’s stock and equipment. The company continued doing business during the nine months it took to hand-clean or replace many thousands of filing envelopes, millions of black and white prints and colour slides, and other equipment and documents.
In 1981, REX raised its profile dramatically with its coverage of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. Its fast and comprehensive service beat many agencies into the pages of newspapers and magazines around the world.
1979 : REX new London headquarters
In November 1979, the REX moved into its current offices at 18 Vine Hill, London, EC1R 5DZ, opposite Leather Lane Market & Hatton Garden in Clerkenwell.
2008 : REX acquisition of Berliner Group
In 2008, REX acquired the Los Angeles-based Berliner Group of photographic companies, with the aim of strengthening REX’s presence in the USA and guaranteeing a reliable supply of high-quality celebrity portraiture and coverage of “red carpet” events from the US.
2010 : REX acquisition by Getty Images
On 26 April 2010, Getty Images' announced its intention to acquire the Rex group of companies. Following a decision on 8 July 2010 by the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) to refer the proposed merger to the Competition Commission (formerly Monopolies Commission), the deal was called off. During its investigation, the OFT heard a significant number of concerns from third parties, which supported the view that the profiles and extensive image archives of Getty and Rex mean they are close competitors. The OFT was concerned that, if the merger is allowed to go ahead, the loss of Rex as an independent competitor could enable Getty to increase prices for customers.
2011 : REX management buyout
On 24 July 2011, it was announced that there would be a management buyout led by Larry Lawson, the existing Director of Business, with the backing of existing advisor to the business Miguel Ferro and other personal investors.
On 21 March 2013, The major shareholders of Rex Features were awarded the right to acquire French photographic agency Sipa Press in collaboration with the Belgium agent Isopix.