After a decade of acquiring nearly every stock photography collection and agency with promise, Getty Images has itself been acquired. The buyer? Private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC, in a transaction valued at approximately $2.4 billion.

Starting just over a decade ago, the imaging company built with money from oil baron Mark Getty set about transforming a sleepy, largely mom-and-pop industry built on analog slide shipments into the leading digital photo library in the Internet age. Over the years the company’s work impacted nearly ever professional photographer in the business, and, as is the case with most disruptive businesses, engendered more than its share of criticism.

Still, the company’s power and success are undeniable, as evidenced by today’s heft price tag.

What’s next? How will the purchase, if approved, impact photographers working today? Stay tuned as this all shakes out, and please share your thoughts in the comments below. Also, if you’re at all interested in the history of how Getty got to where it is today, see our analysis of its acquisition history.

Full press release after the jump.