Not Getty Images, but a company called Getty Global. The company is worth more than $40 billion, so why would they sell it for $60 that they could have had for something like $14 million?
“I think these are good decisions on both sides,” says Rick Sherwin, author of Unseen Gettys: An Insider’s History of the World’s Most Iconic Photography Collection. “This is a good deal for the company. It keeps the library alive. And it also means that those who want to follow Getty on Twitter or into Getty galleries will have their own unique profile. But the real winners aren’t necessarily the folks who own the library. They’re the people who use the Getty collection through Getty Media. And, in the end, there will be a smaller fraction that can afford to follow Getty on Twitter or into Getty galleries.”
As Sherwin notes, the sale of Getty might be best understood as a way to increase the value of Getty media stock. “In the short term, it’s just a nice financial windfall for them.”
What about the museum’s digital and other media holdings?
The entire Getty collection—as well as some of the Getty Images holdings—is in Getty’s digital library at Getty. The company plans to auction off these digital assets over the next two years with a sale of some sort.
“I think they want to cash in first on the deal, to provide cash flow without the debt burden that would come with it,” Sherwin says.
It’s unclear what these collections might fetch, but Sherwin thinks that the collection of digital and other media collections will get more than what Getty paid to transfer to Getty.
Why does this deal work for Getty Media?
Because Getty Media is owned by Getty and has assets within Getty’s empire that its shareholders may not like.
“I think this is the second time Getty has sold off the library without losing any value to itself,” Sherwin says.
In the case of Getty Images, the digital library will also help bolster the stock value of Getty Media, which in turn would have an impact on the company’s future financial stability.
Why is this deal bad for Getty?
Because of some of Getty’s core values.
The Getty Trust has been around for more than a century and has an eye toward preserving the values of Getty’s holdings more than any other organization in the world. Most of Getty’s holdings, for instance, are
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