Getty Images Sold to Carlyle Group for $3.3 Billion

Getty Images, the largest stock photo archive, has been sold to private equity firm the Carlyle Group for $3.3 billion, according to Bloomberg, Reuters, and other sources. The sale comes three months after Hellman & Friedman, the private equity firm that has owned Getty Images since 2008, began preparations to sell the stock agency.

According to a statement released today by the Carlyle Group, Getty co-founders Jonathan Klein and Mark Getty will invest “significant equity” in the company.

Hellman & Friedman was reported to have paid $2.4 billion to buy Getty in 2008. According to news reports back in May, the firm was hoping to get as much as $4 billion for the agency.  (Full disclosure: Hellman & Friedman also owns Nielsen, parent company of PDN.)

In the past year, Getty Images has taken several cost-cutting measures. These included introducing  new terms to its contracts with photographer/contributors, cutting back royalties it pays to photographers,  and telling contributors that rights-managed images that had not sold well would be moved to royalty-free collections, while the royalty-free images would be sold as part of subscription packages. Through a statement, Getty Images told PDN that changes to its contributor contracts were needed “so that more content can be used in more ways that help our business meet current and future customer needs and grow sales.”

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6 Responses to “Getty Images Sold to Carlyle Group for $3.3 Billion”


    They also laid off hundreds of people and no longer fund any creative shoots that were very profitable

    I am sure many more have layoffs coming.

    Stock is so over anyway better to get out . Very hard to make transition from Stock to any other sort of Photography job. Stock is thought if as very low brow.

  2. Ben Dover Says:

    Yes it’s totally Getty’s “M.O.” to lay people off and take full advantage of photographers every chance they get! I agree more layoffs are in the works, they are a rather soulless lot and the only things that matter are profits and the good-life for elite at the top. It’s become a very different company and industry.. no doubt! Very sad.

  3. James L. Says:

    So InstaGram is bought with not a shred of revenue to show for by Facebook for $1.1B and now Getty is sold again ( to yet another Private Equity Firm) for $3.3B.

    There’s a disconnect here but regardless who ever said the photo stock business is dead. Well, maybe now it is because Getty can just keep lowering and lowering their margins to take over all sorts of media content.

    Let’s see if actual massive layoffs take place ( it didn’t really take hold when H&F took it over in 2008) but let’s wait and see I suppose. It’s coming down to just Getty, AP and maybe Corbis in this business and everything else and everybody else will be shredded to oblivion!

    Sure, there will always be smaller agencies but this injection for cash will make it much more harder for anyone to compete.

    We know one thing, Klein and Getty are laughing there way to the bank!

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  5. BubbleBurst Says:

    Getty claims no layoffs.
    Caryle Group does not manage companies – they finance them. The management team remains intact because they are shareholders at just about 50%. If anything Getty gained capital to take over the world. ha ha ha.

  6. Carl May Says:

    Getty et al. gobbling, dominating, and turning itself inside out while playing money games for the wealthy? Not such startling news in the imagery industry. What is truly zany about this go-around is the apparent corporate miscegenation involving the Carlyle Group.