Based in Seattle Getty Images it will be a public company again.
The 27-year-old digital media provider announced On Friday, it completed a merger with CC Neuberger Principal Holdings, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, and will begin trading on Monday.
“We have a lot of employees who have been part of this story and part of this business for a long time,” the executive said Craig Peters in an interview with GeekWire. “[Going public] gives us an opportunity to even that out.”
Getty first announced its plan to go public in December, when the company was valued at $4.8 billion.
Getty received a total of $875 million in committed capital, a significant drop from the $1.3 billion it had expected to receive. A portion of the proceeds from the deal will go toward paying down existing debt, the company said.
The move to go public comes at a time when tech stocks have seen significant declines while investor sentiment toward SPACs has worsened.
There was 30 companies so far this year, which called off plans to merge with the SPAC, citing adverse market conditions. All four Seattle companies that merged with SPACs in 2021 are all down more than 50% from their previous highs in market value.
Peters who joined Getty in 2007 and became CEO in 2019, said the company is insulated from this trend because of its fundamentals. Unlike most SPAC mergers, he said, the company has “real revenue, real customers and real profits.” He added that his investors have committed to being long-term shareholders, allowing him to keep the capital he has raised on his balance sheets.
Neuberger shares fell 13% to $8.45 on Wednesday after news that shareholders approved the SPAC merger with Getty. The stock rebounded on Friday, closing at $9.35 a share.
Starting Monday, the stock will trade under the symbol “GETY” on the New York Stock Exchange.
Ann investor relations presentation from March showed that Getty’s revenue fell to $814 million in 2020 from $846 million in 2019 and $868 million in 2018. However, revenue rose by more than $100 million in 2021, which is about 14% more on an annual basis.
Peters says the drop in 2019 numbers is a result of the company’s transition to a subscription-based model while also closing some businesses within the company. He said the pandemic has affected declining revenue in 2020 as many entertainment and sporting events have been cancelled.
The company said its recent revenue growth was the result of attracting new customers, a growing library of video content and other factors.
Getty also includes photography marketplaces iStock and Unsplash.
There are several competitors, including Shutterstock, which went public in 2012. Shutterstock shares hit record highs late last year, but have fallen nearly 50% in 2022.
Getty was first taken private in 2008 after it was acquired by San Francisco-based private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for $2.4 billion. It was then acquired by The Carlyle Group, another private equity firm, in 2012 for $3.3 billion.
Founded in London in 1995, Getty has since moved its headquarters to Seattle merged with Seattle-based stock photo provider PhotoDisc in 1997. The company 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 has more than 300 employees in the Seattle area, out of more than 1,600 worldwide.