Carlton buys stake in photo archive

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The Independent Online
Carlton Communications, Michael Green's media group, yesterday agreed to spend pounds 17.3m for a 10 per cent stake in Getty Communications, a leading provider of archive and still photo images for businesses.

The deal will give Carlton the option of taking an additional 10 per cent stake within two years, and was said by the company to be "strategic".

Commenting on the transaction, Mr Green said: "There is undoubtedly change in the way a still or moving picture is being delivered. Getty is at the forefront of this change."

The two companies intend to co-operate in a range of activities, including the marketing by Getty of Carlton's own content. Carlton is a leader in video processing, post-production and editing.

Getty Communications was set up in 1993 by Mark Getty, scion of the wealthy US family, and his partner Jonathan Klein. The company took control of Tony Stone Images, the market leader in contemporary stock footage, and thereafter built up operations in archive photography and stock film footage.

"The last few years, the world has moved from being technology crazy to being content crazy," Mr Klein said yesterday. "New media has a huge need for imagery, and that is what we supply."

Mr Green, who first met Mr Klein 12 years ago, will join the Getty Communications board.

Getty's controlling shareholder, Getty Investments, will subscribe for additional shares in the company to retain its interest. Together with the Carlton investment, Getty Communications will have more than $40m to invest in acquisitions, Mr Klein said.

"There are thousands of companies with good products, but no marketing or management skills," he added.