Darryn Lyons, the founder of the infamous Big Pictures photo agency, which went into administration this month with a string of debts, has bought up his former company's assets for £164,000.
The brash Australian who dubbed himself "The King of the Paparazzi" returned to Australia after Big Pictures folded, but has set up a new company called Mr Paparazzi Celebrity Deals and established himself as a shareholder of another firm called BPGG Limited, through which he has bought his former firm's library of five million images.
While he returns to business, British-based photographers have been left with thousands of pounds of unpaid invoices and have lost access to the negatives of their work.
Lyons has appeared on a series of television shows – including the Australian version of Dragons' Den and an ITV reality series about the magazine business called Deadline – where he has boasted of his media expertise and entrepreneurial skill. But the collapse of Big Pictures does not appear to have been a chastening experience for the former Celebrity Big Brother contestant.
"It is understood that the purchaser is an associated company as the director of the company, Darryn Lyons, is a shareholder of the purchaser," stunned creditors were informed in a letter from RSM Tenon, the administrators of Big Pictures.
BPGG outbid another 15 companies that entered discussions into buying the assets of the agency, which closed on its 20th anniversary leaving staff unpaid for their final month of work.
Big Pictures – "The World's Biggest and Best Celebrity Picture Agency" – had a library of five million images. Photographers who did not sign a copyright waiver are seeking the return of their images from the agency. But the administrator, which included the library in the sale to BPGG, said in its letter to creditors that it was "inherently difficult to place an accurate value" on the library.
The agency is best known for its pictures of David Beckham at the time of his affair with Rebecca Loos.
In one of his most recent Twitter postings, the photo agency founder Darryn Lyons told his followers about a charity golf event at which he hoped to be "raising money for people with less than us all".