The auction for a potential sale of privately-owned stock photo agency Getty Images Inc. has drawn initial bids of around $4 billion from private equity firms, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
KKR and Co. LP (KKR: Quote) and TPG Capital LP are said to be among at least five bidders interested in the photo agency that distributes stock photographs, video footage and digital images to media and other organizations around the world.
According to the WSJ report, Getty's owners and bankers are now making management presentations to potential buyers, ahead of the second round of bids for which a deadline has not been set.
Private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC took Getty private in 2008 in a leveraged buyout that valued the company at $2.4 billion. A group of investors, including Getty's co-founder and chairman Mark Getty, owns a minority stake in the company.
Getty has put its earlier plans for an initial public offering on the back burner and is now pursuing a sale, due to the high level of interest in the company.
Seattle, Washington-based Getty Images was co-founded by Mark Getty and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Klein in 1995.
The company has grown through acquisitions and now employs about 1,900 people. Getty has distribution offices around the world and capitalizes on the Internet and CD-ROM collections for distribution.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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