Getty Images Sells For $2.4 Billion

Hellman & Friedman put faith in difficult market

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Just a couple of weeks after Getty Images, the world’s largest stock images company, appeared to have failed to find a buyer for itself, the company announced an agreement to be sold to private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC for $2.4 billion. That’s 55% more than the stock was valued on Wall Street.

GettyImages GettyImages
(Photo Credit: GettyImages)

Since the announcement, Getty’s shareprice has jumped by over 30%, but the market cap is still at around $1.91 billion. CEO Jonathan Klein had long argued that the stock was undervalued, and Getty would go to the buyer that valued the company appropriately.

As recently as February 11, though, it looked like Getty was having trouble finding takers, especially during an uncertain financing climate. Hellman & Friedman found that financing via Barclays Capital and RBS Greenwich Capital.

Klein had cited Getty’s undervalued stock as a reason for selling, and not the increasingly competitive and ever less-exclusive stock images market online. Though Getty charges in excess of $200 per use of image and counts major-league clients like the New York Times as clients, demand for less expensive, even lower quality images for burgeoning blogs and online publications make the image market and unsure bet.

It would seem Hellman & Friedman were less uncertain about it. “Getty Images is the leader and pioneer in the visual content and digital media business," said Andy Ballard, managing director of Hellman & Friedman, in a statement. "We believe in the vision and execution capabilities of Jonathan Klein and his team, and share their commitment to the Company’s stakeholders and customers."

A year ago, Getty was rumored to be in talks to acquire the third largest stock images company, Jupitermedia for an estimated $450 million, which certainly would have been an excellent price for Jupitermedia CEO Alan Meckler, given the company’s current $115 million market cap. Perhaps closer to double instead of triple the value would have made the deal go through and Getty would have gone for closer to $3 billion.

When the rumor that Getty would be purchased sprang up about a month ago, Meckler took it as a good omen for his company even though it appeared Getty was looking for a bail-out.

Meckler wrote on his Jupitermedia blog, "While the Getty team might be bailing out, management at Jupiterimages remains confident that we have the best chance of the big three in the image industry to come out on top. We are the only company with the right mix in this difficult environment to hopefully create a solid business model for success.

"The key is understanding and executing in the subscription arena. RF Subscription models combined with strong Rights Managed and microstock offerings is the only way to survive in future years. Only Jupiterimages is doing well in all three of these segments."

Meckler promised more commentary if Getty was sold, but has not, as of yet, updated.

Regardless of history, it seems what’s good for Getty is good for Jupitermedia. Shares of Jupitermedia are up 5%, even if it has a ways to go before recapturing its 52-week high of $9.25, a price set right around that Getty purchase rumor.  


Getty Images Sells For $2.4 Billion
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  • http://rehcs.inmarket.biz/ Rehcs

    May be they put more royalty free images at public?

  • Guest
  • http://www.getcre8ive.com.ph Getty images office philippines

    This is a good news for Getty images. I hope the industry of Getty will sky rocket the market.

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