Getty Images SOLD. Now you feel _______.

Getty Images today announced that it has agreed to be acquired by a private equity firm, Hellman & Friedman. From the press release:

SEATTLE, Feb 25, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Getty Images Inc. (NYSE:GYI), the world’s leading creator and distributor of visual content and other digital media, announced today that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by affiliates of the private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC in a transaction valued at approximately $2.4 billion, including the assumption of existing debt…

…Hellman & Friedman LLC is a leading private equity investment firm with offices in San Francisco, New York and London. The Firm focuses on investing in superior business franchises and serving as a value-added partner to management in select industries including media and marketing services, financial services, professional services, information services, healthcare and energy. Since its founding in 1984, Hellman & Friedman has raised and, through its affiliated funds, managed over $16 billion of committed capital and is currently investing its sixth partnership, Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners VI L.P., with over $8 billion of committed capital. Representative investments in media and marketing services include: DoubleClick Inc., Catalina Marketing Corporation, Young & Rubicam Inc., Digitas Inc., The Nielsen Company, and Axel Springer AG. For more information, visit

So I ask you, dearest readership, the following questions. Please answer all, some, or none in the comments below:

1)Please fill in the missing word in the title of this post.

2)Do you believe this will affect you personally, either as a non-contributor or as a contributor?

3)What is the master plan in place here?

4)Do you care?

I’ll post my answers to these questions tomorrow. Please post yours now.

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Anonymous says:

1. Curious
2. Change is inevitable, and rather quickly
3. they will split up the company, segment it, get aggressive
4. change is good – I’m for it. I hated the last couple years of the stock world.

Chase Jarvis says:

@ anon revenue question: less than 10 % of my income comes from stock photography – a model I migrated to back when stock houses began commissioning RF buyout shoots. Sign that the times were changing. I actually ran the other way, reduced any RF and only did small amount high value RM.

Chase Jarvis says:

@ Paul: nice moves. Don’t be bitter, but I like your style. Feels good sometimes ;)

Chase Jarvis says:

@ Finn: A-men.

Anonymous says:

1. Indifferent.
2. No.
3. Profit.
4. No.


Adam Kaplan says:

1) worried, optimistic, cautious.

2)As a photo major, I am thinking about going into the commercial photog. field, and I’ve been looking into putting my work up on stock sites, so I would have to say this will defiantly affect me in the future.

3)No idea, but from what I’ve read, the firm has some other advertising holdings, so it will be interesting to see wether they keep the company as one, or split it up.

4)Of Course.

Anonymous says:


What percentage of your revenue comes from Getty? It looks you have a ton of work on their site!!

1) Smug, as I made a decision long go not to base my business around stock.

2) No, see above.

3) They think the name Getty Images holds some weight. They may try to either leverage the name into other market segments (Microsoft Live image search powered by Getty anyone), or they’ll try to canibalise the image library.

4) Obviously I care, as any change this big sends ripples through the industry, however I don’t see this affecting me directly any time too soon.

Anonymous says:

1) relieved that I didn’t have to shell out the bucks! just kidding. indifferent.

2)Do you believe this will affect you personally, either as a non-contributor or as a contributor? No it will not.

3)What is the master plan in place here? It was a business purchase. Obviously the investment firm thought or think they can turn a dollar.

4)Do you care? Change is good. It may shake up the “stock” market within the next 2-5 years. If they are perceived to fail service or value wise someone else will step up to the plate.

1)Please fill in the missing word in the title of this post.


2)Do you believe this will affect you personally, either as a non-contributor or as a contributor?

Absolutely. We’ll have to or, better said, try to predict which will be the next move.

3)What is the master plan in place here?

Trying no to think that Getty is the only island out in the ocean.

4)Do you care?

Yes I do. I’ll keep an eye on Getty in the coming months.

Anonymous says:

1)Please fill in the missing word in the title of this post.


2)Do you believe this will affect you personally, either as a non-contributor or as a contributor?

YES, as a contributor this will be good for everyone except the talent creating the imagery.

3)What is the master plan in place here?

World Domination!

4)Do you care?

Thank GOD for PhotoShelter, Alamy and Jupiter.

Although, most of my stock income comes from Getty and I will keep on submitting images via the PC program.

1) cautious

2) as a soon to be contributor I have no doubt this will affect me.

3)The master plan is to make dolla-dolla billz. The optimist in me is hoping for the Getty monster and the new owners to make some decisions that will benefit the photographer and not just their bottom line. Realizing, of course, that while treating their contributors (and their images) with respect their decisions will eventually payoff for the company down the line. Getty has such a huge influence on the industry. That influence has the potential to be positive. Change can be good.(wha? am being realistic or just optimistic?)

4)Yes, I do care.

Ken Cavanagh says:

1. ambivalent
2. Yes and it will affect all stock photo to some degree
3.Getty’s plan hasn’t worked out for them…lets see what markets the new owners will focus on. I expect to see more layoffs, sales of some divisions and possibly independent spinoffs.
4.Of course, anyone trying to earn an income from stock is in some way directly or indirectly affected by the 100 pound gorilla of the industry and its policies.

Anonymous says:

2)not sure yet
3)big picture-hopefully new owners will realize the value of quality images.
4)yes I care- in someway it will affect all photographers

Anonymous says:

1) Angry
2) Downturn. The buyer cares even less about photography than Getty does.
3)Of course there is a bigger picture. It’s called business and it doesn’t address anything but dollars and cents.
4) Yes, unfortunately. I have to care.

Finn McKenty says:

1)Interested. lots of deals have fallen through lately with the credit crunch in full effect, but i don’t know the details of this one so i’m not sure where it fits into the overall picture.

2)no- i’m not a photographer

3)ROIC: return on invested capital. i very strongly doubt that the private equity firm cares even a tiny bit about photography.

4)not really, because as sokkerdad said, if this deal somehow compromises getty’s ability to deliver, someone else will just fill their shoes (the invisible hand!)

Sean Austin says:

1. Confused. Their market cap was a 1.6 B a few weeks ago – I don’t understand the paid price.

2. No.

3. If I knew, I would have bought stock before it jumped to $30/share today.

4. Yes, I do.

GeoWulf says:

1) Apathetic
2) No change. But I agree, change is most often good.
3) It would really depend on who is managing Getty after the sale.
4) Yes I am a caring kinda guy!

Bretzelman says:

1) hmm it’s hard to define. A bit worried, a bit optimistic

2) as a contributor of a small local agency, I think it’ll not affect us directly. As my boss said, the market is split in 2 parts: 98% for mainstream media makers like reuters, afp, I think we could count getty as part of this big part. The 2 last percents are for small agencies focused on very specific work with high added value. It’s like comparing the local grocer’s with walmart. The growth of walmart didn’t killed the local grocer’s, at least not the best ones.

3) I think it’s a good things for independants and small mediamakers. They work more locally on more precise topics and assignments, the more some agencies like getty get bigger, the more small structures can make the difference, use their ability to change fast and adapt instantly their offer to the market.

4) Of course.

sokkerdad says:

Dang. News is faster on blogs these days than the mainstream media!

1) Happy.

2) No change.

3) Perhaps the new owners will run a less efficient business that allows independents an better opportunity to compete.

4) Yes. I like it. Change is good.

Thx Chase.

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