Blackstone Group is Buying Ancestry for $4.7B
By Luisa Beltran
Aug. 5, 2020 4:41 pm ET
Blackstone Group will become the latest private-equity firm to own Ancestry, a provider of digital family history services.
Blackstone (ticker: BX) said Wednesday it was buying Ancestry in a deal valued at $4.7 billion. Blackstone will have roughly 75% of Ancestry, while GIC—the sovereign-wealth fund once known as the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.—will have 25%, Barron’s has learned. Bank of America (BAC) and Credit Suisse are providing debt financing.
Blackstone has committed to invest more than $2 billion equity in Ancestry. About quarter of that, or $400 million to $500 million, will come from GIC, Barron’s has learned.
Ancestry uses information found in historical records and family trees to help its more than 3 million subscribers discover their family history. The company also uses DNA tests to give users more data about their family tree and recent genetic ethnicity. The Lehi, Utah, company operates in more than 30 countries. It produces over $1 billion in annual revenue.
Founded in the 1980s, Ancestry still has lots of room to grow. The company, under Blackstone, will expand its focus beyond its core audience to include a younger and more diverse population, Barron’s has learned.
“Our entire leadership team is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Blackstone to further accelerate Ancestry’s global leadership in family history and consumer genomics,” said Margo Georgiadis, Ancestry’s president and CEO, in a statement.
Ancestry, which considered an initial public offering in 2019, went up for sale earlier this summer. Final bids for Ancestry were due this Friday, Aug. 7, but Blackstone put its offer in last week, Barron’s has learned. Morgan Stanley (MS) ran the process.
“This is a company that we’ve coveted for a long time. We’re thrilled to have won the asset,” David Kestnbaum, a Blackstone senior managing director, told Barron’s. “We see it as a very strong fit with our themes of focusing on high-quality digital growth businesses.” Blackstone also owns Bumble, the digital dating app, and Vungle, a mobile ad company.
The deal represents Blackstone’s first control acquisition from its eighth flagship fund that raised $26 billion last year. The pool is the largest ever in the private equity industry.
Ancestry has a long history with private equity. Spectrum Equity, a Boston growth firm, first bought a stake in Ancestry in 2003. Permira, a European private-equity firm, led a group to take Ancestry private in 2012. In 2016, Silver Lake acquired a minority. With the sale to Blackstone, Spectrum, Permira and Silver Lake are set to exit.
Silver Lake declined to comment. Executives for Spectrum and Permira didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Write to Luisa Beltran at luisa.beltran@...
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