Business News

Ancestry.com’s Owners Reportedly are Exploring a Possible Sale of the Company

This story strikes me as non-news: Reuters News Agency is reporting that Ancestry.com LLC, the world’s largest family historical past website, is exploring a sale that would be worth between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, together with debt, based on information from individuals acquainted with the matter. Permira Advisers LLC, the buyout agency that owns most of privately held Ancestry, has employed funding banks to run a public sale for the corporate, according to unnamed sources.

You can read the story at http://goo.gl/TTazpi and at a few other web sites as well.

I am repeating the rumors here because there is a lot of buzz about this story. However, I am surprised that anyone would be surprised that Permira Advisers LLC is thinking of selling. Of course Ancestry.com is for sale!

Ancestry.com First Quarter 2015 Financial Results: Revenues $164.6 million, Up 7% Year-Over-Year; Up 8% on Constant Currency Basis

Ancestry.com today released the company’s financial numbers for the first three months of 2015. “Our first quarter results reflect the strengthening business trends we began to see last fall, highlighted by strong Adjusted EBITDA growth and 104,000 net subscriber additions since the end of 2014,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. “We are executing well in the core business and execution will remain a major theme in 2015 as we focus on content acquisition, product enhancements, continued momentum at AncestryDNA, which now has a database of genotypes from approximately 850,000 people, and the penetration of targeted new international markets.”

Some of the highlights:

AncestryDNA Launches Revolutionary New Technology to Power New Ancestor Discoveries

The following announcement and video were created by Ancestry.com:

(PROVO, Utah) – April 2, 2015 – AncestryDNA, the leader in DNA testing for family history, today launched a significant technological advancement that makes discovering one’s family history faster and easier than ever. Now with the easy-to-use AncestryDNA test, customers will have the unique ability to find their ancestors, who lived hundreds of years ago, using just their DNA. Only possible through the groundbreaking work of the AncestryDNA science team, New Ancestor Discoveries is a technical innovation that combines the latest in genetic science, new patent-pending algorithms, and access to AncestryDNA’s extensive database to push the boundaries of human genetics, and help people find ancestors from their past using just a DNA test, no genealogy research required.

“This is the biggest advancement in family history since we introduced our Hint feature, the Ancestry shaky leaf, which scours billions of historical records to automatically find new information about your family,” said Tim Sullivan CEO of Ancestry. “Now, through a simple DNA test, AncestryDNA is fundamentally revolutionizing the way to discover your family history, transforming the experience by making it faster and easier to go further into your family’s past, and instantly discover new ancestors you never knew you had.”

Ancestry Appoints Kendall Hulet Senior Vice President of Product Management

The following press release was written by Ancestry.com:

PROVO, Utah, March 3, 2015 — Ancestry, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced the appointment of company veteran Kendall Hulet to the position of Senior Vice President of Product Management. Hulet will assume responsibilities for the global product organization and its efforts to make family history more fun and accessible to millions around the world. Hulet is succeeding Eric Shoup, who recently departed Ancestry to pursue new business opportunities.

Announcing: Irish Probate Genealogy Partners

A new genealogy corporation in Ireland has been launched. It is the product of a partnership between Eneclann, Ireland’s largest historical and genealogical research company, and Heirs Ireland, an internationally recognized probate genealogy firm. Irish Probate Genealogy Partners’ business goal is to provide comprehensive services to the legal profession.

Today’s announcement states:

Irish Probate Genealogy Partners have over 60 years combined experience legal, title and probate research, which includes:

StoryPress Partners with Findmypast to Bring Family History to Life Through the Power of Storytelling

The following press release was written by the folks at StoryPress:

AUSTIN, TX, February 24, 2015 — StoryPress Inc today announced a partnership with UK-based Findmypast, to make their market-leading storytelling platform available to Findmypast’s global audience of family historians. StoryPress makes it incredibly simple for anybody to create rich and powerful stories either for themselves, or to share with the world.

Under the terms of the partnership, StoryPress and Findmypast have been working together to create Story Guides specifically aimed at helping users bring their family history to life using audio, images and video.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society and FamilySearch Announce an Historic Collaboration

The following announcement was written by the folks at the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Announces a Multi-Year Collaboration with FamilySearch

The Two Leading Nonprofits in the Family History Industry Announce a Sharing of Online Resources for the Benefit of Millions of Constituents

A New, Redesigned Website by NEHGS at AmericanAncestors.org Offers Millions of New Records and New Names— Giving NEHGS Members Access to More Records than Ever Before

February 17, 2015—Boston, Massachusetts—New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and FamilySearch, the family history arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, today announced a multi-year collaboration between the two nonprofit organizations and a sharing of online genealogical resources, establishing a milestone in the growing international family history industry. In a database exchange program, the two leading non-profits in the global genealogy business will now make available millions of new records containing billions of new searchable names to their many constituents.

StoryWorth Wins First Place at RootsTech Innovator Showdown

The following announcement was written by the folks at StoryWorth:

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 14, 2015StoryWorth, a San Francisco start up company that offers an email-based storytelling service, today swept the RootsTech Innovator Showdown, winning both first prize and the People’s Choice award, and claiming a purse of $15,000. RootsTech is a global conference hosted by FamilySearch.

The Innovator Showdown is the first-annual event where entrepreneurs from around the globe presented their web or mobile app on stage in front of a live audience, vying for a total of $25,000 in sponsor-contributed prize money.

Findmypast and BillionGraves Announce Partnership

The following announcement was written by Findmypast and BillionGraves :

Findmypast and BillionGraves announce partnership to make rich historical content accessible to everyone for free

Industry leaders are working together to make more than 12 million grave markers available to everyone, making it easier for families to discover their unique story for free.

Salt Lake City, Utah, 13 February 2015. Findmpast and BillionGraves announced today that they will partner to add more than 12 million grave marker indexes to family history websites mocavo.com and findmypast.com. With the shared goal of making family history more accessible to everyone, this unique content will be available on all three websites for free.

New records: 12 Million Grave Marker Indexes Available for Free

Findmypast Begins Offering DNA Testing to Customers

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

The world’s fastest growing family history company announces new affiliation with DNA experts FamilyTreeDNA.

Salt Lake City, Utah, 12 February 2015. Leading family history site, findmypast.com has today announced its new partnership with FamilyTreeDNA.

An important frontier in family history, DNA testing complements Findmypast’s historical records and family trees, allowing researchers to connect with one another and solve long-standing research questions. As of today Findmypast will now be offering DNA testing services to all its members through FamilyTreeDNA.

Ancestry Announces 2015 Product and Content Lineup

The following announcement was written by Ancestry and released at the RootsTech and FGS conferences:

Industry Leader Talks Innovation and New Collections At Annual RootsTech Conference

(PROVO, Utah) – February 11, 2015 – Ancestry, the world’s leading family history service, is ushering in the next generation of family history, with the debut of an updated story centric website, groundbreaking advancements in AncestryDNA that will revolutionize how people discover their ancestors, and the anticipated addition of nearly 1 billion new records to the largest collection of historical records online in 2015.

Findmypast Partners with New York’s Largest Genealogical Organization to Bring Wider Access to New York Records

The following announcement was made today at the RootsTech and Federation of Genealogical Societies’ combined conferences in Salt Lake City, Utah:

  • Findmypast, one of the world’s fastest growing family history companies, partners with New York’s largest genealogical organization to bring wider access to New York records
  • Findmypast will be the new home of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society’s Digital Library, offering millions of records from across the United States.

Salt Lake City, Utah, 11 February 2015. Findmypast and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) announced today that Findmypast will host the newly expanded Digital Library of the NYG&B. The partnership will provide additional membership benefits for the one of the nation’s oldest genealogical organizations, while also offering a stream of new content to Findmypast’s growing collections.

Findmypast Continues to Grow

Findmypast today issued a rather interesting press release. The company continues to grow rapidly, which is obvious to many people in the genealogy community who watch the companies that serve the genealogy marketplace. However, this press release is unusual in that it directly compares the growth of Findmypast’s customer base to that of its largest competitor. I was a bit surprised to read the side-by-side comparison in a press release. It is also the first of many announcements I expect to be issued this week at the combined RootsTech and Federation of Genealogical Societies’ conferences in Salt Lake City.

The following is the press release from Findmypast:

Findmypast continues to grow as Ancestry loses subscribers

  • Thanks to loyal subscribers, innovative technology and an international team, Findmypast gains subscribers while Ancestry’s numbers fall
  • As one of the fastest growing family history companies, Findmypast is challenging the status quo of the industry by acting on their belief that genealogy should be accessible to everyone.
  • Findmypast will be making a series of exciting announcements each day at industry show RootsTech

Salt Lake City, Utah, 11 February 2015. In a highly competitive market, family history site findmypast.com continues to grow. According to Ancestry’s annual report, Ancestry’s subscriber numbers fell by 25K year on year in 2014, while Findmypast’s active subscribers rose by 34K year on year for the same period.

A Case Study in Changing Technologies: Radio Shack

Genealogists tend to be aware of changes in our own lives as well as in the lives of our ancestors. Of course, technology changes have happened at a rapid-fire pace for perhaps 100 years now. One prominent example is Radio Shack. The company filed for bankruptcy protection today. The company may or may not survive.

I am saddened by this news. As a 14-year-old ham radio operator, I obtained many of my early electronics devices from Radio Shack’s mail order catalog, paying for them with the money I earned from my paper route. Yes, Radio Shack and I go back a long ways.

The company was started as in 1921 by two brothers, Theodore and Milton Deutschmann, who wanted to provide equipment for amateurs, or ham radio operators. The brothers opened a small walk-in store and mail-order business in downtown Boston.

The company grew and eventually became a chain of retail stores. It was one of the first stores to sell computers to hobbyists. How many of us once owned a TRS-80?

Ancestry.com LLC Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Financial Results

The following is an excerpt from Ancestry.com’s quarterly financial report, released a few minutes ago:

PROVO, Utah, Feb. 3, 2015 — Ancestry.com LLC (the “Company”), the world’s largest online family history resource, reported financial results today for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2014.

“Ancestry.com ended the year on a positive note, with solid growth in adjusted EBITDA and improving subscriber trends,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. “After a year of strategic investments, we are focused on strong execution in the core business in 2015. We remain very pleased with AncestryDNA, which doubled its customer base in 2014, just launched in its first international markets, and is demonstrating its potential for broadening the base of consumers seeking to discover more about their family history.”

Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Financial Highlights

MyHeritage adds 900 Million Records to its Global Digital Archive

The following announcement was written by the folks at MyHeritage:

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah – February 2, 2015: MyHeritage, the leading destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, today announced that 900 million global historical records have been added to its searchable digital archive, bringing the total to more than 6 billion. By combining its huge and rapidly expanding digital repository of historical records with its matching technologies and newly-released Instant Discoveries™ experience, MyHeritage is helping families unlock their past faster and on a larger scale than ever before.

The additional content announced today is among the fruits of MyHeritage’s strategic partnership with FamilySearch, the world’s largest genealogy organization. The records consist primarily of family tree profiles that have been submitted by more than 22 million users on FamilySearch. Integration ensures that this data is refreshed on MyHeritage on a daily basis as it is updated on FamilySearch. Adding this data to MyHeritage alongside the 27 million global family trees submitted by users of MyHeritage, brings together for the very first time 2 of the world’s 3 largest family tree collections. The beneficiaries are the users of the two organizations that will receive matches whenever MyHeritage technologies locate overlaps between the trees. Millions of users will make new discoveries and find new, previously unknown ancestors and relatives thanks to this partnership.

AncestryDNA Testing Kits Now Available in the United Kingdom and Ireland

Ancestry.com sold the company’s first DNA kit in the U.S. in 2012 and, since then, more than 700,000 people have used AncestryDNA to discover more about their family history. Now anyone in the United Kingdom or in Ireland can do the same.

The Ancestry DNA kit costs £99 plus shipping. You can learn more or order a kit at: http://dna.ancestry.co.uk.

Accessible Archives and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Enter Into a Publishing Partners Agreement

The following announcement was written by Accessible Archives, Inc.:

Malvern, PA (January 29, 2015) – Accessible Archives, Inc., a publisher of electronic full-text searchable historical databases has signed an agreement with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library to preserve in digital format a number of primary source collections relating to President Lincoln and the State of Illinois. Once the materials have been digitized and made fully searchable, they will be available to genealogists, scholars, students, and those studying historical issues of personal interest as new databases by Accessible Archives. This collaboration was coordinated through Unlimited Priorities LLC, a firm specializing in support for small and medium-size companies in the information and publishing industries.

Ancestry to Build New Headquarters in Lehi, Utah

The following announcement was written by Ancestry.com:

PROVO, Utah, Jan. 28, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ancestry, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced its plans to build a new company headquarters at The Corporate Center at Traverse Mountain in Lehi, Utah.

“We’re excited about our new Utah headquarters,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry. “We’re proud of everything our employees have accomplished in recent years, and we’re looking forward to a new facility that is going to be an awesome place to work.”

FindMyPast Announces Appointment of Ben Bennett as new Vice President of International Business

The following announcement was written by FindMyPast:

London, UK, and Salt Lake City, US 7 January 2014. Findmypast, a leading family history site, has announced the appointment of Ben Bennett as their Executive Vice President of International Business.

From January 2015, Ben will be responsible for the development of Findmypast’s North American market as well as other markets outside of the UK. Ben will become a member of Findmypast’s Senior Management team and will have an important role in building a global structure for Findmypast.

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