Private equity company The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG) has acquired a controlling stake in Getty Images from Hellman & Friedman for $3.3 billion, apparently beating out rivals KKR (NYSE:KKR) and TPG.
Getty’s co-founder and chairman, Mary Getty, as well as the Getty family, will roll “substantially all of their ownership interests” into the transaction with Carlyle, while co-founder and chief executive Jonathan Klein will also “invest significant equity” in the company as part of the deal.
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The agreement comes more than a month after The Wall Street Journal reported that Getty was receiving initial bids of around $4 billion as it progressed into the second round of an auction.
Sources close to the matter had said that the most interested companies were private-equity companies, notably KKR and TPG. But Carlyle apparently had also remained interested and swooped in with the winning bid.
Carlyle Partners, a $134.7 billion U.S. buyout fund, will provide equity financing for the investment, while J.P. Morgan (NYSE:JPM), Barclays (NYSE:BCS), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and RBC Capital Markets (NYSE:RBC) have committed to debt financing.
The transaction is expected to close later this year, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
Getty, which for the first time shot images at the Olympic Games this year in London in 3-D and 360-degree formats using robotic cameras, distributes its photos and videos to media and other organizations.
Founded in 1995, the agency’s website hosts a massive archive of photos, touting that its collections span from America’s birth to the present day.
Buyout company Hellman & Friedman took Getty private in 2008 in a leveraged buyout that valued the photo agency at $2.4 billion. The firm’s managing director, Andy Ballard, said the partnership with the photo agency exceeded its expectations and has resulted in an “outstanding investment for Hellman & Friedman.”