GIC, Silver Lake to buy stake in genealogy firm

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and American private equity firm Silver Lake are acquiring a stake in Ancestry.com, a provider of online family history data and personal DNA testing.

Silver Lake and GIC, an existing investor in Ancestry, have signed an agreement to acquire substantial equity stakes in the company - worth about US$2.6 billion (S$3.5 billion) - from existing holders.

Silver Lake and GIC will hold equal minority ownership positions in Ancestry, said a statement released last Friday.

A GIC spokesman declined to comment on the investment amount and the fund's eventual equity stake.

Other investors, including global investment firm Permira, Spectrum Equity and Ancestry's management, will remain as meaningful equity investors and, along with GIC, will continue to own a majority of the company.

Ancestry has more than 2.2 million paying subscribers . The company uses the information found in its 17 billion digitised historical records, subscribers' 78 million family trees as well as 1.5 million DNA samples to help people gain insights into their heritage.

"Silver Lake and GIC's investments constitute a vote of confidence in our future, an affirmation of the work we have done to build our company and, most importantly, a validation of the tremendous opportunities we see ahead," said Mr Tim Sullivan, Ancestry's president and chief executive.

GIC has enjoyed working with Ancestry's management team over the past three years, said managing director Eric Wilmes.

"We look forward to helping them build on Ancestry's best-in- class, global business over the long term," he added.

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be finalised in the current second quarter.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2016, with the headline 'GIC, Silver Lake to buy stake in genealogy firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe