Photo library Getty Images has accepted a $2.4 bn (£1.2bn) buy out proposal from private equity group Hellman & Friedman.
The acquisition will transfer ownership of one of the world’s largest distributors of stock photos, video and digital content into private hands.
Getty’s new owners will be seeking to reverse the fortunes of the business, which has seen its share price and earnings suffer from what industry commentators have hailed as increasing competition from the Internet and slowing demand from print owners.
Getty’s shareholders will receive $34 (£17) in cash for each share they own, a 55 per cent premium on the current share price. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of the year.
Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein co-founded the company 13 years ago. The Getty family will continue to hold a minority stake in the business and the current management team will stay on under the new owners.
Hellman & Fiedman has extensive interests in other media companies including German publisher Axel Springer, Internet ad company DoubleClick and media rating agency Nielsen.