Reuters has reported that when Getty Images' deadline for bids closed on Feb. 4, there was at least one takeover offer. It was unclear how firm the offer (or offers) were and whether they were for all or parts of the company.
Some analysts have speculated that iStockphoto might be the most valuable segment of the company, and that some buyers might be interested in acquiring just that division. However, it seems unlikely that Getty would be willing to sell off iStockphoto alone and more likely that it is looking for an all-or-nothing deal.
In discussing the potential sale during the recent Getty Images conference call with investment analysts, Fred Searby of JP Morgan asked CEO Jonathan Klein, "What's the logic for now?" HeÂ pointed out that the company's hyperbolic growth is gone and while stable, and generating fairly substantial free cash flow, a year ago they could probably have taken the company private or sold private equity at a much higher multiple than today.
Klein responded that at no point Getty Images has "talked about sale. We've talked about strategic alternatives." Klein also told Reuters, "We have not said anything about what those alternatives may be. It is our obligation as a board to look at the different alternatives to drive shareholder value when you generate as much cash as we do."