Getty experienced a growth spurt in recent years that put it on the top of the field for companies supplying images to the media, but low cost competition, including photos taken with cell phones, have hurt it. The company acquired competitor MediaVast for $202 million in 2007.
The price for the company is expected to be more than $1.5 billion.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital and others are said to be interested in purchasing the company, which claims 4 million visitors click onto its Web site each month, The New York Times reported.
The company, which was founded in 1995 by Jonathan Klein and Mark Getty, a member of Jean Paul Getty's oil-rich family, pushed to the top of the images business after buying the archives of PhotoDisc and later, in 1999, purchasing the Eastman Kodak's Image Bank, a $183 million purchase.
But, the company has struggled in a market underscored by low cost start-ups, the report says.
Getty Images stock fell to $21.94 a share on Friday.