The Carlyle Group announced Wednesday that it has agreed to buy Getty Images for $3.3 billion.
Carlyle, the second-largest private equity group, will take a controlling stake in the photo archive and co-founder and chairman Mark Getty and the Getty family will roll nearly all of their ownership interests into the transaction.
"We are delighted to collaborate with Carlyle, with its formidable pedigree and success, and take the business into its next phase of development and growth," Jonathan Klein, Getty's CEO, said in a statement.
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Founded in 1995, Seattle-based Getty bills itself as the first stock-photo business to license images online. It was originally shopped by Hellman & Friedman for $4 billion, Bloomberg reported citing unnamed sources.
Hellman, a San Francisco private-equity firm, bought Getty for $2.4 billion four years ago.
"We acquired Getty Images in 2008 because we believed in its strategic direction, growth potential and ability to build on its leading position as one of the world's premier media franchises," Andy Ballard, Hellman's managing director, said in a statement. "Our partnership exceeded our expectations."
The transaction is now subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close this year.
TheWrap has a partnership with Getty and occasionally pairs stories with images from the archive.