Getty Images Acquired in $2.4 Billion Deal

By: Daryl Lang

The world’s largest photo agency announced Wednesday that it has completed its deal to go private and will be de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the day.

The announcement follows a June 20 vote in which a majority of Getty Images shareholders voted to approve the deal.

Getty Images is being acquired by an affiliate of Hellman & Friedman, a private equity firm with a number of media investments. The companies value the transaction at $2.4 billion.

Shareholders will receive $34 for each outstanding share of Getty Images stock. At its highest, in November 2005, Getty stock traded at over $95. Since then, the fast-changing stock imagery market put pressure on Getty’s core business, the licensing of traditional creative stock imagery.

In a statement Wednesday, the new owner of Getty voiced confidence in the current management team.

“The founders, management team and dedicated employees of Getty Images have created a market leader that is well-positioned for future growth and innovation,” said Andy Ballard, managing director of Hellman & Friedman. “Getty Images fits well within our investment profile given its leading market position, strong cash flows and talented base of employees. We are excited about working with the entire Getty Images team to focus on long-term growth potential, product pipeline and innovation in both consumer and business to business offerings.”

In the same statement, Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein said Getty was looking forward to working with its new owners.

“We are pleased to have completed this transaction so efficiently and to have rewarded our shareholders with a significant premium in a challenging stock market,” Klein said. “Continued strong shareholder support is one of the factors that allowed us to become the leader in all categories of the visual content industry. As we enter the next phase of our history, we look forward to our partnership with Hellman & Friedman.”

Hellman & Friedman has invested in a number of media and marketing companies, including Axel Springer AG, Catalina Marketing Corporation, DoubleClick, Formula One Holdings, ProSiebenSat.1, and Upromise. The firm is a part owner of the Nielsen Company, the owner of PDN.

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