Lehi-based Ancestry acquired in $4.7 billion deal

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Ancestry's new headquarters in Lehi on Wednesday, June 22, 2016.

(Kristin Murphy, KSL)

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LEHI — Ancestry.com was acquired by private equity management company Blackstone Group Inc. Wednesday, representing a major jump in the valuation of the Lehi-based business.

The deal for Ancestry, known for family history research and DNA testing, is valued at $4.7 billion. Silver Lake and Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund GIC Pte have been the majority owners of Ancestry since 2016. GIC will continue to retain a minority stake in the company.

Ancestry.com is one of the world's largest providers of DNA services, allowing customers to trace their genealogy and identify genetic health risks.

Ancestry is home to over 1,000 jobs in Utah and operates in more than 30 countries with more than 3 million paying subscribers across its Ancestry online properties. In 2017, the company reached $1 billion in annual revenue, though there have been some rough times this year. In February, the company announced it had cut its workforce by 6%.

Ancestry.com, which was founded in 1996, first went public and raised $100 million. It was taken private once again in 2012 in a $1.6 billion deal led by private equity firm Permira.

Four years ago, Silver Lake and GIC acquired a majority stake for $2.6 billion. Blackstone is betting on the valuation continuing to rise, especially with Ancestry recently branching out into health research. Last month, the company’s scientists announced a new, preliminary finding of why COVID-19 appears to have a greater toll on men than women.

"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," David Kestnbaum, a senior managing director at Blackstone, said in a statement. "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."

The deal is Blackstone's first acquisition out of its largest-ever private equity fund.

Current president and CEO of Ancestry Margo Georgiadis said the company’s leadership team is excited for the opportunity to partner with the new investors and hopes the deal will accelerate growth as Ancestry continues to reach people from around the world.

"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 personalized preventive health," Georgiadis said.

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