GIC, Silver Lake close strategic investment in US genealogy firm Ancestry, valued at $2.6b

Visual of GIC website. 19 October 2015.

Silver Lake Partners and GIC have completed their transaction to acquire substantial equity stakes in Ancestry.com LLC, a global provider of online family history and personal DNA testing, at an enterprise value of approximately $2.6 billion.

Claiming to be the largest for-profit genealogy company worldwide, Ancestry LLC operates a network of historical record websites focused on the US and nine foreign countries, with Canada and Australia being major markets, alongside a presence in several European states.

Following the transaction, Silver Lake and GIC will each hold equal minority ownership positions in Ancestry. The Permira funds, Spectrum Equity and Ancestry management, including President and CEO Tim Sullivan and CFO/COO Howard Hochhauser remain as meaningful equity investors. Along with GIC, they continue to own a majority stake in Ancestry. In addition, Ancestry has closed the previously disclosed employee tender offer.

Ancestry is also expanding its operating committee to include: Mike Bingle, Silver Lake; Stephen Evans, Silver Lake; Jason White, Silver Lake; Eric Wilmes, GIC; Alex Moskowitz, GIC; Andrew Skrilow, GIC; Vic Parker, Spectrum Equity; Tim Sullivan, Ancestry; and Howard Hochhauser, Ancestry.

In its Q1 2016 report, the company reported that subscribers of Ancestry websites totalled approximately 2,372,000 as of March 31, 2016, an increase of 5 per cent compared to 31 December 2015 and 7 per cent increase compared to 31 March 2015. Long term debt obligations currently amount to $1 billion as of 31 March 2016.

Total revenues for Q1 2016 was $196.5 million, compared to $164.6 million in Q1 2015, driven by growth in revenues from AncestryDNA and the core Ancestry websites. On a constant currency basis, first quarter 2016 total revenues would have increased 21.2 per cent year-over-year, with net income for Q1 2016 reported at $12.4 million, compared to $2.8 million in Q1 2015.

To date, Ancestry claims to have more than 2.3 million paying subscribers across its core Ancestry websites and more than 1.5 million DNA samples in the AncestryDNA database.

It develops and markets genealogical software, and offers a wide array of genealogical-related services, such as personal DNA testing. Ancestry’s brand portfolio include Ancestry, AncestryDNA, AncestryHealth, AncestryProGenealogists, Family Tree Maker, Fold3, Newspapers.com, Find a Grave, Archives.com, and Rootsweb. AncestryDNA is currently available in more than 30 countries, including new markets across Western and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia.

Recently, the company acquired AdPay, an obituary input network targeted at funeral directors and newspaper publishers which streamlined the obituary entry process, eliminating errors and reducing overhead for funeral homes, while increasing revenue for newspapers via paid obituaries. Financial terms of this acquisition were not disclosed.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.