Getty Images, which hired Goldman Sachs Group this month to explore the media company's financial options, reported a 7. 7 percent drop in...

Share story

Getty Images, which hired Goldman Sachs Group this month to explore the media company’s financial options, reported a 7.7 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit as it invested in new businesses.

The Seattle company’s profit fell to $28.5 million, or 48 cents a share, from $30.9 million, or 51 cents, a year earlier, Getty said Thursday. Sales rose 7.1 percent to $218.1 million, beating the $210.2 million average of 11 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg News after a weaker dollar increased the value of the revenue Getty got from international customers.

Without currency benefits, sales would have increased 1 percent.

Getty, the world’s largest supplier of photos to newspapers and advertising agencies, has invested in lower-resolution photographs and a music-licensing business as demand for traditional imagery wanes. The company retained Goldman after its stock dropped almost 50 percent in 12 months.

Getty Images fell 7 cents to $24.93 Thursday in the regular trading session before its earnings were released. In after-hours trading, the stock gained 7 cents to $25.

Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Klein said on a conference call he is “not at liberty to answer” questions about the strategic review. “At no point has Getty Images talked about a sale,” he said, after an analyst asked why the company would be for sale at this time.

Bids for Getty were due Thursday, The New York Times reported Jan. 21, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

For the first quarter, Getty forecast sales of $220 million and earnings of 45 cents a share. That compares with average analyst estimates of $222.4 million and 56 cents. For all of 2008, Getty maintained its forecast for $900 million in revenue and said earnings would be between $2 and $2.10 a share.

Before accounting for some special items, fourth-quarter profit of 49 cents beat the 48-cent average estimate of 11 analysts.

Getty’s results
Dollar figures in thousands, except per share.
Dec. 31 %
4th QTR 2007 2006 CHG
Profit $28,509 $30,896 -7.7
Per share 0.48 0.51 -5.9
Revenue 218,123 203,635 +7.1
ANNUAL 2007 2006 CHG
Profit $125,871 $130,428 -3.5
Per share 2.10 2.11 -0.5
Revenue 857,591 806,589 +6.3