Sold To Private Equity Firm For $1.6 Billion

By: Chris Crum - October 22, 2012

Online genealogy site has agreed to be purchased by European private equity firm Permira for $1.6 billion ($32.00 per share). President and CEO Tim Sullivan and CFO and COO Howard Hochhauser will maintain a majority of their equity stakes in the company. Spectrum Equity will also remain an investor.

“This is a successful outcome for our public stockholders, and a great day for employees and subscribers around the world,” said Sullivan. “We’re excited that Permira shares our commitment to keep investing in our technology and product experience to make family history easy and accessible for more and more families around the world. Their strong investment track record in the technology and Internet sectors makes them a terrific advisor and partner as we take the company forward.”

Brian Ruder, Partner and Head of Permira’s Menlo Park office added, “With its pioneering technology and market leading position, is an exciting investment opportunity for the Permira funds. We are thrilled to be able to back the company as it continues to develop new and innovative content, and expand in both its core markets and into new geographies. We look forward to bringing Permira’s technology and media experience to bear in supporting Tim, Howard and the rest of the talented team at and its mission of helping everyone discover, preserve and share their family history.”

Charles Boesenberg, Chairman of the Board of, said, “Our board conducted a thorough sale process, and we are pleased to be able to offer our stockholders this premium transaction.”

Speaking of stockholders, shares, listed on the NASDAQ, are up 7.98% in the news, as of the time of this writing. The company will release its Q3 financial results on Wednesday. has over 10 billion digitized, indexed records and over 2 million subscribers.

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • John D

    What insurance or assurances did obtain to require the purist of data processes will be continued and no “mismanagement” or skewing of historical information will be experienced as a result of this change of ownership. Who are the owners and backers of this fund and what is their mission? ARE THEY ALL AMERICANS with a patriotic interest in preserving our heritage and history? It’s going to take a sizable PR job to persuade many of us that this change will insure the integrity of this treasure trove of historical data. Convince me they are trustworthy.

  • Leanne

    I think that John has a pretty parochial view of the world. is used world-wide and has records from many countries other than the USA. Therefore, if the new shareholder makes the ownership more world-wide and less American, I think its great! Family history is an international past-time.

  • H. Campbell

    I admit that I’ve never used, but I have qualms about the changeover of ownership, too. In the event I DO use the genealogy service, I can only hope that such misgivings aren’t justified at all.

  • Sanjos333

    This scares me big time, right now rates are reasonable if you pay monthly, but I can just see when some “private equity firm” owns them instead of The group ( Mormons) the fees going crazy as all they are going to want to do is make money on their investment…..I have been using for 6 years now and ANY changes in it or their software Family Tree Maker would be such a mistake! I was informed by a person of the Mormon faith that the Mormon religion started all of this with a purpose, something about baptizing the ones who have gone before us? Is that purpose finished? I am not an expert on this in any way, so please no “you are so ignorant” type comebacks, OK? And I agree with John D….I sure hope this wasn’t because of greed, and we can trust this new owner to keep up the standards of this website. Jury will be out on this one for awhile, I am sure…