Getty Images bought by The Carlyle Group

By Andrew Hudson Published: August 22, 2012 Updated: February 8, 2016

By Andrew Hudson Published: August 22, 2012 Updated: February 8, 2016

Getty Images, Inc., one of the world’s largest stock photo agencies, has been sold. The seller was a large American private equity firm and the buyer was … another large American private equity firm. So for us photographers, maybe not much will change.

The new controlling holder (with just over 50 percent ownership) is The Carlyle Group CG, a “global alternative asset manager” based in Washington, D.C. The founders of Getty Images — Mark Getty (the British son of oil billionaire Paul Getty) and Jonathan Klein — will increase their ownership to just under 50 percent.

The deal values Getty at $3.3 billion, including debt, which is a 60 percent increase in four years.

History of Getty Images

“In seventeen years, we have built a business that has revolutionized the industry, with innovation at its core.”
Mark Getty, Co-Founder and Chairman of Getty Images, August 15, 2012.

  • 1993: Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein found Getty Investments LLC.
  • 1995: Getty Images is founded in London
  • 1996: Goes public on Nasdaq
  • 1997: Buys PhotoDisc
  • 1999: Buys Tony Stone Images
  • 2000: Listed on the New York Stock Exchange
  • 2008: Bought by Hellman & Friedman, a private equity firm. Klein and Getty own about one third. The deal values Getty at about $2 billion.
  • 2006: Buys iStockphoto
  • 2009: Buys Jupitermedia’s online images division
  • 2012: Bought by The Carlyle Group, another private equity firm. Kelin and Getty own just under 50 percent. The deal values Getty at about $3.3 billion.

“Getty Images consistently demonstrates growth, leadership and prominence as one of the world’s leading media companies. This partnership with The Carlyle Group reflects and bolsters our ongoing strategy, strong management team and the talent of our dedicated employees. We are delighted to collaborate with Carlyle, with its formidable pedigree and success, and take the business into its next phase of development and growth.”
Jonathan Klein, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Getty Images, August 15, 2012.

“Getty Images is the premier, global marketplace for commercial visual content. We look forward to partnering with Mark Getty, Jonathan Klein and the talented Getty Images management team. We will harness Carlyle’s financial resources and global network to help take Getty Images to the next stage of product innovation and global growth.”
Eliot Merrill, Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, August 15, 2012.

About Getty Images

According to Getty Images:

Getty Images is a leading creator and distributor of still imagery, video and multimedia products, as well as a recognized provider of other forms of premium content, including music. Getty Images serves business customers in more than 100 countries and is the first place creative and media professionals turn to discover, purchase and manage images and other content. Its award-winning photographers and imagery help customers produce inspiring work which appears every day in the world’s most influential newspapers, magazines, advertising campaigns, films, television programs, books and Web sites. Visit Getty Images at

Sources: Getty Images press release, August 15, 2012. Images: 1: Getty Images home page on August 21, 2012.

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