Blackstone to acquire Ancestry genealogy business for USD4.7bn

Private equity funds managed by Blackstone are to acquire Ancestry from Silver Lake, GIC, Spectrum Equity, Permira, and other equity holders for a total enterprise value of USD4.7 billion. 

Current Ancestry investor GIC will continue to retain a significant minority stake in the company. This transaction represents the first control acquisition for Blackstone’s eighth vintage of its flagship private equity vehicle.

Ancestry is specialist in digital family history services, operating in more than 30 countries with more than three million paying subscribers across its Ancestry online properties and more than USD1 billion in annual revenue. The company 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.

David Kestnbaum, a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, says: “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. We look forward to investing behind further data, functionality, and product development across Ancestry’s market leading platform to continue to provide a differentiated service. Our investment is a prime example of Blackstone’s continued, high-conviction focus on investing in growing, digital consumer businesses, which are resilient in the current environment and beyond.”

Sachin Bavishi, a Managing Director at Blackstone, adds: “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.”

Margo Georgiadis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry, says: “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, and to help us achieve our mission to empower journeys of personal discovery to enrich lives. Looking ahead, in collaboration with Blackstone, we will continue to leverage our unique content, powerhouse consumer brand and technology platform to expand our global Family History business while bringing to life our long-term vision of personalised preventive health.”

Howard Hochhauser, Ancestry’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, adds: “We want to thank Silver Lake, GIC, Spectrum Equity and Permira for their support in helping set up Ancestry for our next phase of growth.”

Stephen Evans and John Rudella, Managing Director and Director at Silver Lake, respectively, says: "We thank Ancestry’s management team, employees, and our co-investors on the board including GIC and Spectrum, as well as our Board Chairman Tim Sullivan, for their partnership during a period characterised by impressive growth, accelerating technology innovation and expansion across new products. We will be cheering on from the sidelines going forward, and hope and expect that the company will achieve continued success under Blackstone's ownership."

Choo Yong Cheen, Chief Investment Officer of Private Equity at GIC, says: “Ancestry is the clear leader in helping people discover, preserve, and share their family histories. As a long-term investor, we are proud to have contributed to Ancestry’s family history mission since 2012, and we are confident the team will continue to innovate for years to come. We appreciate the contributions of Silver Lake, Permira, and Spectrum and look forward to partnering with the Blackstone and Ancestry teams for this next phase of growth.”

Vic Parker, Managing Director at Spectrum Equity, says: “We are deeply appreciative of our 15-year relationship with Ancestry’s management team and the tremendous growth and value they have created over that time. Ancestry’s leadership in online genealogy and its ongoing investment in content and DNA science have enabled users to make personal discoveries and collaborate with a passionate community to the benefit of all stakeholders. We are excited to follow Ancestry’s team and new shareholders as they continue to expand their product offerings and reach new users globally.”

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as lead financial advisor to Ancestry. Barclays also served as a financial advisor to Ancestry. Latham & Watkins LLP is serving as legal advisor to Ancestry and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is serving as legal advisor to Blackstone. Dechert LLP is serving as legal advisor to GIC. Committed debt financing for the transaction was provided by Bank of America and Credit Suisse.