Time flies when you’re having fun with photos. It was four years ago that Hellman & Friedman acquired Getty Images—the world’s largest distributor of stock photos, video, and other digital content—in a take-private deal valued at $2.4 billion. Since the deal closed, Getty Images has expanded its photographer grant program, partnered with Flickr on an imagery collection, launched a site devoted to stock photo rights, and tussled in court with a maker of car air fresheners. The company has also paid out a whopping $875 million in dividends, and now its private equity fund owner is cashing out. Enter an even bigger PE player, the Carlyle Group, which has inked a deal to acquire Getty Images for $3.3 billion. Additionally, Getty Images co-founder and chairman Mark Getty and the Getty family “will roll substantially all of their ownership interests into the transaction,” according to a statement issued yesterday. Getty Images management, including co-founder and CEO Jonathan Klein, will also invest significant equity in the company. The transaction is expected to close later this year.
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