Private equity firms are in the process of putting in their final bids to acquire privately-owned stock photo agency Getty Images, Inc. in an auction process for which final bids are due on August 6. The deal is expected to be worth about $3.5 billion to $4 billion.
Three private equity firms are now said to be left in the fray in the final phase of the auction. These include Carlyle Group LP (CG: Quote), TPG Capital LP and CVC Capital Partners Ltd.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier in the month that KKR and Co. LP (KKR: Quote) and UK buyout firm Charterhouse Capital Partners were also among at least five bidders that were initially interested in the photo agency that distributes stock photographs, video footage and digital images to media and other organizations around the world. However, the two dropped out after the initial stages.
Hellman & Friedman LLC own a majority stake in Seattle, Washington-based Getty Images, which was taken private in July 2008 by the private equity firm in a leveraged buyout that valued the company at $2.4 billion. A group of investors, including Getty Images' co-founder and chairman Mark Getty, owns a minority stake in the company.
Seattle, Washington-based Getty Images was co-founded by Mark Getty and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Klein in 1995.
Hellman & Friedman had in May 2012 hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) to advice it of the initial public offering or a possible sale of the company.
According to the WSJ report, Getty Images' owners and bankers made management presentations to potential buyers, ahead of the second round of bids.
Getty Images had put its earlier plans for an initial public offering on the back burner and are pursuing a sale, due to the high level of interest in the company.
The company has grown through acquisitions and now employs about 1,900 people. Getty Images has distribution offices around the world and capitalizes on the Internet and CD-ROM collections for distribution.
Before it was taken private in 2008, Getty Images was listed on the Nasdaq since the company's initial public offering of stock in July 1996 and traded at "GETY." Then it transferred its listing to the New York Stock Exchange, under the new ticker symbol "GYI" in January 2001.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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