The Carlyle Group and Getty Images management have formed a partnership to acquire the world's largest image and video stock agency from Hellman & Friedman for $3.3bn.
The deal will see Carlyle acquire a controlling stake in Getty Images, while co-founder and chairman Mark Getty and the Getty family "will roll substantially all of their ownership interests into the transaction". In 2008, their ownership represented 15% of the company's share.
Jonathan Klein, Getty co-founder and chief executive officer, will also invest "significant equity" in the company.
According to The Wall Street Journal, both co-founders, as well as Getty's family, will "boost their interest in the company to just under 50%, from about 30%".
The acquisition comes four years after Hellman & Friedman bought Getty Images for $2.4bn. In a statement released today, Andy Ballard, managing director of Hellman & Friedman, said: "We acquired Getty Images in 2008 because we believed in its strategic direction, growth potential and ability to build on its leading position as one of the world's premier media franchises. Our partnership exceeded our expectations and has resulted in an outstanding investment for Hellman & Friedman."
Since 2008, Hellman & Friedman has been able to recoup most of its investment through new debts, according to the Financial Times receiving $496m and $379m in dividends in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
However, according to Bloomberg, the price of today's transaction "is less than the $4bn that San Francisco-based Hellman & Friedman was seeking, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday. CVC Capital Partners Ltd, which was also bidding, declined to top Carlyle's bid, according to the source, who asked not to be named because the talks were private."
The Carlyle Group plans on "harnessing" its financial resources and global network "to help take Getty Images to the next stage of product innovation and global growth", says Eliot Merrill, managing director of The Carlyle Group.
In a prepared statement, Klein said: "This partnership with The Carlyle Group reflects and bolsters our ongoing strategy, strong management team and the talent of our dedicated employees. We are delighted to collaborate with Carlyle, with its formidable pedigree and success, and take the business into its next phase of development and growth."
Mark Getty adds: "In seventeen years, we have built a business that has revolutionised the industry, with innovation at its core. I am confident the partnership between Getty Images and The Carlyle Group will see the company's success continue."
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