It was announced yesterday that Permira, a private equity firm, has agreed to buy Ancestry.com for $1.6 billion dollars. Actually, I’m not astute enough to know if Ancestry is being bought for $1.6 billion, or if it is being valued at $1.6 billion. Suffice it to say that major stockholders will be making lots of money.
It sounds like Tim Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Howard Hochhauser, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, are selling some of their stock and keeping some. The same seems to be true for Spectrum Equity, a company that owns 30% of Ancestry’s stock. According to a message sent to employees Monday morning, many employees will also be offered stock ownership opportunities.
Private equity firms buy companies with the idea of selling them later at a profit. It can be an outright sale, or by going public (again, in Ancestry’s case). Premira hopes to grow the value of the company by expanding its business in Western Europe. The company will go on with its current structure and will continue with headquarters in Provo, Utah.
The purchase will not actually occur until sometime in 2013, after shareholders have approved.
Hopefully this dispels continuing rumors. Ancestry.com is not owned by FamilySearch or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Neither does Ancestry.com own FamilySearch.org, nor have they found a way to purchase a Church. The two are separate entities who, in my opinion, sometimes cooperate but mostly compete for users and for rights to acquire records. That’s my opinion, anyway.
For a list of companies currently owned by Premira, see http://www.permira.com/investments#.
For the full text of the announcement, see http://ir.ancestry.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=714983.