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Getty Images Sold for $2.4 Billion

     
9:35 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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[iht.com...]

NEW YORK: Getty Images, the biggest distributor of pictures and video in the world, agreed Monday to sell itself to the private equity firm Hellman Friedman for $2.4 billion, including debt.

The price, based on a bid of $34 a share, represents a 55 percent premium over the company's share price on Jan. 18, the day before it announced it was "exploring strategic options." Hellman Friedman's offer is 39 percent higher than Getty's closing stock price Friday of $24.45.

Getty also owns istockphoto.com, a popular royalty-free image site with prices far below those at the flagship site.

9:47 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Oh, that's big! I would think that just put the hurtin' on those that were on the same competitive playing field. If you can't beat em' buy em'!
9:59 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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To a hedge fund? They will get the net income up, expenses down, and resale later for more.
10:04 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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That is a huge price tag! There are so many private equity firms buying up businesses of all kinds at the moment.
10:07 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Can you say sovereign wealth funds...
10:59 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>> They will get the net income up, expenses down, and resale later for more.

Disagree.

Most likely the majority of funds are not theirs. They will load it up with debt, and pay themselves consulting services in 10s of millions of $ per year. It'll take them a couple of years to return their own money. After that it is a free ride, even if it is into the ground.

Private equity is not all it's drummed up to be.

"The smart money is betting that private equity will be a big source of corporate bankruptcies" (not mine)

12:48 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I agree. Almost all companies are up to their neck in debt. Poor guys who buy the companies later.
3:45 pm on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I hope that this doesn't end up resulting in big price jumps at istockphoto. I always wondered if Getty bought them mainly to put them out of business, though certainly competitors could spring up in their place.

While it seems like lunacy to sell images for a few dollars, at least if you normally charge hundreds, there's an important market niche there. When images are cheap, it's easy to stick them in blog posts, PowerPoint presentations, web site content pages that couldn't possibly justify a costly image, etc.

Their pricing has been creeping up, and I can imagine a financially oriented buyer killing the golden goose by raising prices even higher.

 

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