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Stock art consolidation: Getty to buy Jupiterimages

Getty Images has agreed to acquire one of its top competitors, Jupiterimages, for $96 million. Another rival, Corbis, is cutting photographer royalties.

In one of the larger consolidation moves that have been sweeping the stock art business, Getty Images has agreed to acquire Jupiterimages, a subsidiary of Jupitermedia, for $96 million in cash, the companies said.

Getty will keep the Jupiterimages brand and will augment its collection of imagery with Getty stock, the company said. It's unclear, though, what will come of the two companies' royalty-free microstock sites, iStockphoto and Stockxpert.

"We'll be able to discuss questions like that when the deal closes," said Kelly Thompson, iStockphoto's chief operating officer, in a forum posting after the acquisition plan was announced.

The consolidation reflects tough times sweeping the stock-art business--times that led Getty to go private earlier this year in a $2.4 billion acquisition by Hellman & Friedman.

And the times aren't getting any easier. Gary Shenk, chief executive of Getty's top rival, Corbis, said Saturday at the PhotoPlus Expo that it will cut the royalty rate it pays photographers for rights-managed images, according to Photo District News.