596 STOCKBYTE BUYS VC STAKE
December 1, 2003
Stockbyte has bought out the 30% stake held by its venture capital partner, ACT
Venture Capital, for an undisclosed sum.
ACT bought a 25% stake in Stockbyte in 1997 and a further 5% in 2000. This
transaction marks a new phase in the company's development according to Stockbyte
founder and CEO Jerry Kennelly, "ACT's involvement helped us to get on our feet.
Today, Stockbyte is recognized as a major player in a global market dominated by two
giants, Getty Images and Corbis. Our management are confident of their ability to
consolidate their position and match or beat the market leaders creatively, technologically
and commercially. Millions of image searches are conducted by creatives throughout
the world every day. The best pictures win every time -- a significant number of
those times, creatives choose Stockbyte content."
Stockbyte's main competitors are Getty Images, Inc. (NYSE: GYI), which has a $2.37
billion market capitalisation and Corbis, owned by Bill Gates. In an independent
industry survey published in 2002 by Font Shop Germany, Stockbyte was among a group
of three companies cited as the most relevant in the royalty free industry.
Stockbyte says the RF segment of the industry generates $500 million globally on an
annual basis. (Selling Stock estimates that figure to be between $250 and $300
Stockbyte was chosen as the winner of the DHL Exporter of the Year Award earlier
this year and has been included in Deloitte Technology Irish Fast 50 in 2002 and
both the Irish Fast 50 and European Fast 500 in 2003. Stockbyte's Kennelly has been
a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
Stockbyte was the first significant European publisher of royalty free stock
photography, a model which allows users to buy a software type license for imagery.
The company was a pioneer of using the internet as a sales and delivery channel in
1999 when it supplemented its CD collection with single image downloads which is the
fastest growing segment of the market today.
Stockbyte's creative teams shoot their material, working on location throughout the
world. Every images is shot with stock usage in mind and designed to transmit a
strong conceptual message wherever it is being used.
"We're all about creating pictures that work for our clients. We want to inspire,
excite and delight every time they click our search button," declared Kennelly.
Next year will be Stockbyte's most productive year ever, with at least three major
releases of product planned already.
Among world class companies that subscribe to Stockbyte's services are: AOL, Weight
Watchers, Gillette, Avon, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, The Times and Sunday Times
Newspapers, BBC, Oxford University Press and Macmillan Publishing.
Stockbyte operates globally through its website www.stockbyte.com and through a
network of 80 distribution partners worldwide. The business was set up by
photojournalist Jerry Kennelly and his wife Johanna in 1996 and they are now again
the sole shareholders. This shareholding structure allows the business to continue
developing from its base in Kerry, Ireland which will better safeguard the 35 Tralee
based jobs, in a globally mobile industry.
The transaction was facilitated by Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Ltd
Business Banking, Deloittes Limerick and Arthur Cox & Co.