Genealogy website Ancestry.com was purchased today by European private equity firm Permira Advisers LLP. Permira paid $32 per share in cash for the website, a 9.66 percent premium over the closing price of Ancestry.com's stock last Friday, October 19. In total, this means the private equity firm paid $1.6 billion for the genealogy site.
Some have found it surprising that Ancestry.com was purchased at all as there is little buzz about genealogy, while the price of the acquisition — which beats the price Facebook paid to buy Instagram and almost matches the amount Google (News - Alert) paid for YouTube — has certainly added to this incredulity.
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Ryan Dezember of the Wall Street Journal said that the acquisition amounts to "a bet that family-history research is more than a niche market and that the subscriber base can swell with technological innovations, deeper archives and a wider international audience."
Indeed, the site already offers more than just basic genealogy. Since its inception, Ancestry.com has digitized billions of historical records, which are available for viewing on the site by way of a subscription model at prices ranging from $12.95 to $34.95 per month.
Currently, about two million people are subscribed to this service. The site even had its own spin-off television show that ran on NBC for three seasons called "Who Do You Think You Are?" which featured celebrities such as J.K. Rowling and Paula Dean exploring their family trees.
As such, it really isn't too much of a surprise to see the site go for $1.6 billion. After all, it's much more profitable than Instagram was at the time of its purchase.
Earlier in the month, SmarTrend identified an Uptrend for Ancestry.com as the site increased its share price to $29.40, up 42 percent from its 52-week low of $20.75 but not quite matching its 52-weel high of $33.80.
Edited by Brooke Neuman