7 NO GETTY TAKEOVER OF JUPITER
March 13, 2007
The discussions between Getty Images and Jupitermedia about Getty's possible acquisition of the smaller company have been terminated with each company going its separate ways. The statement issued by Jupitermedia offered no explanation for this turn of events. It is unclear whether Getty withdrew its offer, or whether the final offer was simply lower than Alan Meckler was willing to accept. One analyst speculates that either concerns about anti-trust issues, or current operating trends at Jupiter could have soured the deal for Getty.
Great sighs of relief have been expressed by many in the industry who were not looking forward to the impact such a merger might have had on them. International distributors of Jupitermedia products were concerned that if Getty were to acquire Jupiter it would no longer need two distributors in each territory and those representing Jupiter content would eventually lose the right to do so. Many image suppliers that license images through Jupiter on a non-exclusive basis were concerned that Getty would no longer want to represent their work once the company took over.
Royalty Free producers whose work is currently distributed through the Jupiter network were concerned about the possibility of losing a major distributor of their work. In addition they did not look forward to becoming more dependent on Getty for their livelihood. They also considered it likely that their images would be shown lower in the search return order, behind all the Getty wholly-owned brands, resulting in less chance that their images would be seen or purchased. And finally, they expected Getty to pressure them to accept a lower royalty percentage than they are currently getting through Jupiter.
Corbis had every right to be concerned because a major part their RF offering includes: Brand X Pictures, Comstock, Goodshoot, Images.com, Pixland and Thinkstock, all owned by Jupiter. If Getty owned these brands it seems likely that Getty would not have allowed Corbis to continue to represent them.
Getty's image partners expected the additional competition on the site to result in fewer sales for them. And many of Jupiter's staff were concerned that they might lose their jobs. Thus, the failure of the two companies to come to an agreement made many people happy.
Is Jupiter still anxious to sell to someone? Some investment analysts feel that if Corbis had any interest in acquiring Jupiter it would have made an offer when Jupiter was "on the block". Thus, they see little likelihood of follow-on interest in the company.
However, there appears to be some big incentives for Corbis to do a deal. First, the Jupiter RF brands make up a significant part of the Corbis RF offering and it might be nice to keep 100% of that revenue. In addition Gary Shenk, President of Corbis, has announced that Corbis will be launching a "fresh microstock offering" soon and "building a substantial, fast-growing and profitable business in this category." Jupiter's wholly-owned images from some of their subscription offerings could be very useful in this regard.
Meckler said, "Looking ahead: we are confident that we have a great lineup of image and other digital assets that can do quite fine in the marketplace. We believe that we have a solid array of properties and pricing plans that can make Jupiterimages and even greater force than it has been in its first three years of existence."