The world’s biggest picture agency, Getty Images, has been acquired for $3.3bn (£2.1bn) by the private equity firm Carlyle Group.
Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein, Getty Images co-founders, will remain investors under its new ownership, the firms said on Wednesday.
Hellman & Friedman, the private equity company that purchased Getty Images for £2.4bn in 2008, will receive £2.1bn as part of the deal.
Chairman Mark Getty said: “In 17 years, we have built a business that has revolutionised the industry, with innovation at its core. I am confident that the partnership between Getty Images and the Carlyle Group will see the company’s success continue.”
Getty Images has increasingly moved into online photography to fend off doubts about the value of stock pictures. The company has aggressively acquired several of its rivals, including the UK picture firm Scoopt and online library iStockPhoto, in a bid to boost its own catalogue of photography.
Getty chief executive Klein said: “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.”
Eliot Merrill, managing director of the Carlyle Group, said Getty Images would be taken to the next stage of innovation and global growth under the ownership of the US private equity firm.
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