Getty Images, a household name in the stock photography industry, has announced it will become a publicly-traded company again, after becoming private over a decade ago.
Through a partnership with a SPAC company, the agency will go into the New York Stock Exchange –in a transaction to be completed next year– and valued at $4.8 Billion.
This is disclosed as a strategic move to reduce leverage and increase cash flow to invest in more products and accelerate growth, especially in video content. However, there is also the need to pay existing debt and improve the company’s financial status after two years of considerable loss in revenue.
How Will Getty Images Go Public
This transaction will be done via an acquisition by CC Neuberger Principal Holdings II, a SPAC (publicly traded special purpose acquisition company) that will merge to create a new, Getty Images parent company that will include Getty Images, iStock, and the more recently acquired Unsplash. Getty is now valued at $4.8 Billion.
It’s worth remembering that this isn’t the first time the company is going public, but they became private in 2008, at the time at acquired by Hellman & Friedman for $2.4 Billion.
The operation is set to be complete during the first half of 2022, and Getty Images will trade in the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “GETY”.
Except for the financial aspect, there won’t be a lot of changes in Getty Images.
Mark Getty will remain a chairman and Craig Peters (CEO) will remain in his position after the deal is completed. The Getty Family and Koch Equity Development will also remain committed shareholders. All Getty Family, Koch Equity and CC Neuberger will appoint directors for the newly formed entity (after the merger is complete).
The company will continue headquartered in Seattle.
Per the announcement, the idea is to use this new cash flow to accelerate growth: they want to push more products and services for creatives, especially video content: they said video now represents almost 20% of their business, growing from 5% at the time they went private over a decade ago. Creators making video content for social media is particularly a target for them.
Other plans include to focus on small businesses to expand their customer base at iStock, aiming at business owners looking to boost their e-commerce presence through visual marketing. Finally, it's said in 2022 Getty Images will begin to offer data as a service, leveraging their internal stats to help customers select content that drives better results (very similar to what Shutterstock plans for their Shutterstock AI platform).
Although their profits this year have outperformed 2020's already –last year's shutdowns of sports, fashion and entertainment events had an impact on the agency's editorial business–, the firm has had considerable revenue and net losses in the past two years. Undoubtedly, this cash influx helps improve the company’s overall finances.
And it’s worth noting that this agency has been carrying on debt since 2012 when they were acquired by The Carlyle Group. It is said that little over 41% of the cash incoming from this operation will be destined to cover the existing debt.
So right now, we have new products and development announcements from Getty Images, iStock, and Unsplash to look forward to!