Seattle-based Getty is owned by Hellman & Friedman LLC, which took the firm private in July 2008 for $2.4 billion. Terms of this latest transaction call for Getty founders and management to roll substantially all of their ownership interest into the new deal, and for management including co-founder and CEO Jonathan Klein to also invest "significant" equity in the company.
Hellman & Friedman appears poised to record a gain of more than 130% on its $1.1 billion equity investment in Getty.
Founded in 1995, Getty is a creator and distributor of still imagery, video and multimedia products to business customers in more than 100 countries. The company employs nearly 2,000 people.
Carlyle reportedly bested several private equity bidders, including KKR & Co. LP and CVC Capital Partners Ltd., to win the auction for Getty, which had also considered an initial public offering.
Eliot Merrill, a managing director at Carlyle, in a statement called Getty "the premier digital global marketplace for commercial visual content." Merrill said, "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."
Washington-based Carlyle is making the equity investment through its $13.7 billion Carlyle Partners V fund, with committed debt financing for the transaction to be provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays plc, Credit Suisse Group, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and RBC Capital Markets.
The purchase continues an active summer for Carlyle, following its July announcement that it would team with BC Partners Ltd. to acquire parts of Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. for $3.46 billion and its August deal to acquire asset management firm TCW Group from Société Générale SA for an undisclosed sum.
Hellman managing director Andy Ballard said his firm's investment in Getty "exceeded our expectations," adding that "we're confident the business is well positioned for future growth and success with the Carlyle Group."
Getty Images was advised by Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Securities LLC. It took legal counsel from a Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP team led by Kyle Krpata and including Douglas Nave, Michael Nissan and Andrew Nelson; and a Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP team led by Chad Skinner, Nick Washburn and Katharine Moir, which also advised Hellman & Friedman.
Getty Investments, the holding company of co-founder and chairman Mark Getty, was advised by Allen & Co. and Davis Polk & Wardwell's Sarah Solum.
Carlyle received legal counsel from a Debevoise & Plimpton LLP team led by partners Paul S. Bird and Jonathan E. Levitsky and including David A. Brittenham, Jeffrey P. Cunard, Peter A. Furci and Elizabeth Pagel Serebransk.
-- David Carey contributed to this report.
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