The news cracked like thunder in the middle of a hot afternoon : Corbis has just acquired Splash news. The quiet giant has just eaten up the lean mean paparazzi machine. It is a surprise.
There had been rumors in the photo agency world of Getty looking to purchase Splash, to fill their last hole in their overall offering but nothing about Corbis. It is even more of a surprised as Corbis had seem to have abandoned the editorial market after it had shut down their own editorial production department. They were just re licensing agencies like EPA, Zuma and Retna. With this acquisition, Corbis is now back again on the front line of the hottest photo market : celebrity .
According to official news, most everyone will remain at Splash. It will still be run by co founders Kevin Smith and Gary Morgan. It will also be operate as a separate brand, much like Corbis Outline.
One of the main question is how will Corbis manage the high end celebrity approval Outline in parallel to the down to the ground gossip charged Splash without facing the anger of publicists and celebrities.
Finally, the official press release blames high operational cost as a reason for Kevin and Gary’s decision to sell. If the current situation of other photo agency in this space is any indication, falling rates must have also been a strong factor.
More official info here