Hellman & Friedman, with $380 Mln Dividend from Getty Images, Makes Back Nearly All of its Money

Are dividend recaps bad? David Toll, Buyouts’ editor-in-charge, says dividends are usually good for lenders, sponsors and even management teams.

Hellman & Friedman obviously likes them. It’s getting another dividend that will help the San Francisco-based buyout shop make back nearly all of its investment in Getty Images

Seattle-based Getty Images is launching a $275 million term loan today that will be used to pay a special dividend of about $380 million, according to Moody’s Investors Services. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services says Getty will use proceeds from the loan, along with $115 million in cash, to fund a roughly $379 million distribution to its shareholders.

Getty Images distributes still imagery, video and multimedia products. The company produced revenues of about $945 million through the 12 months ended December 2011, Moody’s says. In 2008, Hellman & Friedman acquired Getty Images in a deal valued at $2.4 billion. A trust representing certain Getty family members is also a shareholder, Moody’s says.

Hellman & Friedman invested up to $941.3 million equity in Getty as part of the buyout, according to SEC filings.

The $380 million dividend is the second time Hellman & Friedman will get paid. In late 2010, Getty paid out a $496 million dividend to its sponsors. In all, it looks like Hellman & Friedman has made back most of its investment in Getty Images.

Calls to Getty and Hellman were not returned.