Blackstone to acquire Ancestry.com for $4.7 billion
Private equity firm Blackstone is betting big on family-tree, consumer genomics and personalized medicine. On Wednesday, Blackstone said it agreed to acquire genealogy provider Ancestry.com from private equity rivals Silver Lake, GIC, Spectrum Equity, Permira, and other equityholders for a total of $4.7 billion.
According to the agreement, current Ancestry investor GIC will continue to retain a significant minority stake in the company. The transaction represents the first control acquisition for Blackstone’s eighth vintage of its flagship private equity vehicle. The deal is Blackstone’s first acquisition out of Blackstone Capital Partners VIII, the largest-ever private equity fund that raised $26 billion from investors last year.
Founded in 1983 by Dan Taggart and Paul Allen, Ancestry.com is a subscription based website which helps members discover, preserve and share their family history. Ancestry empowers journeys of personal discovery to enrich lives. With our unparalleled collection of 24 billion records and over 18 million people in our growing AncestryDNA network, customers can discover their family story and gain actionable insights about their health and wellness. It has all relevant Federal Census records since 1790. Records are generally accessible through a paid subscription, but many are free to browse.
Ancestry operates in more than 30 countries with more than 3 million paying subscribers across its Ancestry online properties and more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Launched in 1996 as a family history website, it harnessed advances in DNA testing and mobile phone apps in the following two decades to expand its offerings.
In a blog post, Ancestry said, “Looking ahead, in collaboration with Blackstone, we will continue to leverage our unique content and technology platform to expand our global Family History business while bringing to life our long-term vision of personalized, preventive health.”
Commenting on the acquisition, David Kestnbaum, a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, said: “We are very excited to partner with Ancestry and its management team. We believe Ancestry has significant runway for further growth as people of all ages and backgrounds become increasingly interested in learning more about their family histories and themselves.”
Ancestry also harnesses the information found in family trees and historical records to help people gain a new level of understanding about their lives. Ancestry also operates a market-leading consumer genomics business, which informs consumers about their heritage and key health characteristics.
Sachin Bavishi, a Managing Director at Blackstone, added: “Ancestry’s large network of highly engaged users, unique content, and scaled technology platform have made it a market leader. We look forward to contributing Blackstone’s resources and leveraging our strong expertise in digital content to further accelerate Ancestry’s growth.”