ProQuest is well known in genealogy circles as the parent company of HeritageQuest Online, the company that provides online images of U.S. census records, Revolutionary War Pension Applications, Freedman's Bank records, PERSI, and more than 20,000 local and family history books. The company also has had recent financial troubles. Chief Financial Officer Kevin Gregory resigned abruptly, and the company has now restated its 1999-2004 financial results.
In a brief article in this newsletter on April 30, 2006, I quoted ProQuest's Chief Executive Officer Alan Aldworth: "Given ProQuest's current financial circumstances, we believe the sale of Business Solutions may be in the best interests of the company." That has now happened.
This week, Snap-on, Incorporated, a manufacturer and marketer of tools, diagnostics, and equipment solutions, said that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ProQuest Business Solutions from ProQuest Company for approximately $480 million in cash plus the assumption of $19 million in debt.
"This is a compelling strategic transaction that affords exciting growth opportunities for our customers, associates, and shareholders," said Jack Michaels, Snap-on Chairman, President, and CEO. He continued, "While we execute on this acquisition, we will maintain the positive momentum achieved with our strategic growth initiatives in Snap-on's commercial and industrial group and tools group."
The new announcement does not appear to have any impact on ProQuest's genealogy offerings, other than perhaps assuring that those databases will remain online for some time to come as ProQuest's financial problems are reduced by $500 million.