News Flash: Ancestry.com Sold to Blackstone in a $4.7 Billion Deal

Popular genealogy web site Ancestry.com has been known to be looking for a buyer for some time. This morning, the company announced that it has sold 75% interest in the company for $4.7 billion (U.S.)

From an announcement published in this morning’s Bloomberg financial website:

“Blackstone Group Inc. is set to buy a majority stake in Ancestry.com Inc., the business known for family history research and DNA testing.

“The deal, valued at $4.7 billion including debt, will be the first acquisition by Blackstone’s largest ever private equity fund, according to people familiar with the matter. Silver Lake and Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund GIC Pte have been the majority owners since 2016. After the deal closes, Blackstone will own about 75% and GIC will still hold about 25% of Ancestry.com, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

“Representatives for Blackstone and Ancestry.com declined to comment.”

Blackstone will take about 75% ownership stake in Utah-based company

You can read the full announcement at https://bloom.bg/3gvGUxR.

23 Comments

Interesting to say the least.

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A vote of confidence in the genealogy business.

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Well get ready to see Ancestry go good bye. This investment firm usually sells off assets of companies it buys. But first they’ll raise subscription prices, DNA prices and they’ll likely also sell user information to other companies or government agencies as well.

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    Donald, I disagree. Ancestry has a very long history of changes of ownership. Although there has sometimes been internal turmoil, and some withdrawal of data, overall the changes have been positive. Competition will prevent price rises. Ancestry are here for the very long term.

    Liked by 1 person

    Disagree with you Trevor. Blackstone is in it for the $. They have a great habit of bleeding it dry and then selling what remains to someone else.

    Liked by 2 people

Yeah they only want the DNA

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May be time to download a copy of your Find A Grave memorials.

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I am afraid that I have to agree that this is a dark day for genealogy! The record of venture capitalists/private equity firms keeping the firms they purchase and improving them is almost nil!! In fact, I challenge you to name one situation where a private equity firm kept the purchase and improved it!! The objective as others above have noted is to rob the purchased asset of funds and then sell the remains for pennies on the dollar after it is bled dry! I sincerely hope I am wrong but I would look to download records and photos to another site!

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How will this affect the class action suit

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I heard by the end of the month Ancestry DNA will remove all matches from 6 – 7 cMs unless in a group, have a note or emailed the match. Not sure what they are doing, or will we loose the matches above that?
Have not heard any clarification on this.

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Ancestry.com Hit With $250 Million Auto-Renew Suit In California | Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter [July 31, 2020]
https://blog.eogn.com/2020/07/31/ancestry-com-hit-with-250-million-auto-renew-suit-in-california/
If Ancestry loses the law suit, will Blackstone help finance the payout to the plaintiffs? I don’t anticipate Ancestry will lose. Whether in lower courts or SCOTUS, there has been a rash of judgments in favor of big money enterprises, corporations, etc., over the last few years. SCOTUS even gave corporations the “right” to have religious beliefs in the Hobby Lobby decision! No matter the earlier SCOTUS decision, corporations are NOT people and should not have the rights of individual flesh-and-blood beings. Corporations exist for the sole purpose of making money.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blackstone_Group

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Is anyone else having a problem with updating DNA matches? Mine has not been updated in four days. Does this have something to do with the sale or is something else going on? I have more than one tree there and none have been updated at all.

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Do we have any clue as to what the Ancestry buyout will mean to the faithful subscribers – many of whom have trusted the site: the integrity of information stored by users; offerings and access of informational records; and etc, etc. Is it time for the subscribers to reassess, look elsewhere and make changes.

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Well crap, this is the end for Ancestry. New owners will bleed it dry and leave the hull to self implode. Such a shame.

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    Unfortunately this is scaremongering. Ancestry has survived many many changes of ownership in my long experience as one of their resellers/dealers and now as a subscriber. And have come out the other end much stronger.

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I keep all of my genealogy records on my home computer and backup into the cloud. I upload a copy to ancestry about twice a year. Never have trusted them with my info. They have my DNA. Wish they didn’t.

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Ancestry already costs too much for a monthly subscription. They raised it from basic $19.99 to $25 a month. I’m not paying $300 a year for that nonsense. They are also notorious for continuing to bill your credit card once you cancel then it’s a nightmare waiting an hour on the phone to get through to them. And then maybe they will still keep billing you, you rarely see a refund. I wanted to use a prepaid credit card in the amount of a year subscription but they won’t allow prepaid, because of course they want to keep billing your card ! To heck with them. They need to go the way of used to be companies.

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What other options are available to us besides Ancestry.com? I have used Family Search, but as I understand it they are connected to Ancestry.com. Help me understand what’s going on!

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    —> I have used FamilySearch, but as I understand it they are connected to Ancestry.com.
    Not true! I don’t know where that rumor started but it is not correct.
    Both are very independent, not affiliated with each other and not affiliated with other organizations (with the one minor exception that Ancestry.com has several different divisions, most with separate names. None of these wholly-owned divisions have any connection with FamilySearch.).

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    Ancestry is a business and family search is owned by the Mormon Church. Two different entities.

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