Thursday 14 December 2017

Irish passport-holder Getty is an heir to the renowned Getty oil fortune, through which his grandfather John Paul was one of the world's wealthiest men.

The proverbial apple didn't fall far from the tree and Mark built up the Getty Images photo library into a global giant, before selling off large shares to private equity firms in two stages for a combined sum of just under 4bn.

He owns a 2,500-acre estate in Buckinghamshire, complete with Oval cricket ground replica, an eclectic art collection, ranging from old masters to Banksy, and a yacht called Tabitha. A collection of old books, including rare Shakespeare and Chaucer folios, is also said to be very valuable.

Though more than 850m in dividends has been paid out, Getty Images has come under pressure from rivals, the increasing availability of free high quality photos on the internet and the general decline in traditional media — which has less money to spend on stock photography, in recent years.

Getty's high debt levels affected its ability to reinvest to boost its growth in recent years, and last year Chinese photo library giant Visual China was mulling taking an unspecified stake in the firm, having previously bought a rival, Corbis, which had been owned by Bill Gates.

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