Getty Images Up For Sale

Posted on 1/21/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Getty Images is on the auction block, hoping to be sold for more than $1.5 billion. Final bids are due by the end of January, but people briefed on the situation cautioned that it is unclear which firms would submit. Among those companies showing interest are private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Bain Capital.

Once bids are in Getty's board of directors will determine whether to accept the highest bid. The board could decide to reject all bids and continue to operate the company.

The biggest problem facing Getty is that Wall Street is currently in disarray and much of the funding that was in play a few months ago is gone. Those investors left tend to be much more selective in where they will put their money. Getty and the stock photo business may not be considered the best available option.

The price of Getty shares on Friday, Jan. 18 was $21.94, giving the company a current stock value of about $1.3 billion. It also has approximately $350 million in debt. Two years ago, Getty's stock price was in the $90 range and share value has declined more than 47% in just the last year.

One of the things that appeals to investors is that Getty generates about $150 million in cash per year. That would enable new owners to borrow a lot of additional debt. Getty Images currently has about $300 million in cash.

Short-term prospects for Getty's revenue growth are not particularly attractive. Sales in Getty's commercial still photography core business have been steadily declining in the last three quarters and were down 7.8% in Q3 compared to Q1. Getty's Q4 and year-end figures will be announced on Jan. 31 and most industry observers expect there to be a continued decline. With 2008 shaping up to be a recession year, the prospects for near-term improvement are not bright.

If Getty Images is sold, it is expected that operations will continue much the same.

It would seem likely that Klein will remain as CEO for the foreseeable future. In order to grow revenue, the new owners will want experienced management to continue to operate the company. They are likely to offer Klein a very attractive package to stay.

The company will likely go private, or be absorbed by a much larger company. Thus, it will no longer be required to submit detailed financial reports on a quarterly basis. No longer needing to show increased quarterly profits could enable the company to take a long-range view of the industry that might benefit all involved. On the other hand, the information that Getty has been required to report has been of tremendous value to others in the industry, as an aid to understanding industry trends. That information will disappear.

Copyright © 2008 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Alan Bailey Posted Jan 23, 2008
    pretty cool how the sales rumor pushed their stock value up around $1.5 billion from $1.3 billion. gotta love the free market.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff