Genealogy website owners may launch IPO

Stakeholders of Ancestry.com, in which GIC has a share, meeting potential partners

NEW YORK • The private equity owners of genealogy website Ancestry.com are weighing an initial public offering of the company this year, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Ancestry's owners, which include Permira and Silver Lake, have held talks with banks and are taking formal pitches from potential advisers who want to have a role in the offering, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Sovereign wealth fund GIC also has a stake in Ancestry.

No final decision has been made and the owners may opt to keep the business for now, the sources said. The company, which began in 1983 as a family history and genealogy publisher, was taken private in 2012 by Permira and Spectrum Equity, in a deal valued at about US$1.6 billion (S$2.3 billion).

The stakes that Silver Lake and GIC took in Ancestry last year gave the company an enterprise value of about US$2.6 billion, according to a statement at the time. That investment saw Permira more than triple its original investment, including dividends, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The company, which began in 1983 as a family history and genealogy publisher, was taken private in 2012 by Permira and Spectrum Equity, in a deal valued at about US$1.6 billion (S$2.3 billion).

Spokesmen for Permira, Spectrum Equity and GIC did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Representatives for Silver Lake and Ancestry declined to comment.

Ancestry.com, based in Lehi, Utah, has more than 16 billion records and 68 million family trees containing seven billion profiles, according to Permira's website. It also provides DNA testing.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2017, with the headline 'Genealogy website owners may launch IPO'. Print Edition | Subscribe