Getty Images to become public company again in $4.8B SPAC deal, building on Seattle tech roots

Getty Images veteran Craig Peters, CEO since 2019, will remain in command. (Photo from Getty Images)

Getty Images, the iconic digital photography provider and visual content marketplace, will go public again, more than a decade after it went private. in a deal that values ​​the company at $ 4.8 billion.

The company will remain based in Seattle after the acquisition by CC Neuberger Principal Holdings II, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, a Getty spokesperson confirmed this morning.

Getty has more than 350 employees in the Seattle area, including a major technology operation, out of 1,600 employees worldwide.

Getty Images co-founder Mark Getty, who will remain the company’s president, called the deal “another milestone in Getty Images’ transformation.” As a public company, Getty Images “will be able to aggressively invest in more product and service solutions to address the needs of all of our customers,” it said in a statement.

Craig Peters, who joined Getty Images in 2007 and became CEO in 2019, he is expected to remain in office after the deal closes.

Founded in London in 1995, Getty merged with Seattle-based stock photography provider PhotoDisc in 1997, and then moved its own headquarters to Seattle. Getty struck a deal in 2016 to manage the archive of Corbis Images, its longtime Seattle-based rival, when Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates sold Corbis to Visual China Group.

Getty’s plan to return to public markets also sheds a new light on its finances. The company’s revenue decreased to $ 814 million in 2020, from $ 846 million in 2019 and $ 868 million in 2018, according to financial statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in conjunction with the SPAC settlement.

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Getty Images slide. Click to see a larger version.

The company’s net loss improved to $ 39 million last year, from a loss of $ 51 million the previous year. However, after adjusting that number for costs that include $ 125 million in interest expense and a $ 59 million impact from foreign exchange rates, the company said its earnings would have been $ 269 million last year.

Getty has been burdened with debt since its 2012 acquisition by The Carlyle Group. Approximately $ 576 million of the $ 1.38 billion in cash expected from the agreement with SPAC will be used to pay the existing debt.

In an investor presentation accompanying the announcement, Getty noted growth potential in areas including video and international markets, and noted steady increases in its subscription business, which accounted for 46% of total revenue in 2020, up from 29% five years earlier.

Getty noted that its marketing spend is roughly 6% of total revenue, compared to 12% of revenue spent on marketing by rival Shutterstock, citing a “significant opportunity” to capture more of the global market by Boost your own sales and marketing expenses after the deal is finalized.

The company also includes the iStock and Unsplash photography marketplaces.

The transaction is scheduled to be completed in the first half of next year. Getty will be trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “Gety.”

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