Private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc. revealed that it will be buying genealogy service Ancestry.com for $4.7 billion, said Reuters. The company will be snagging the provider from rival private equity firms and will also be covering existing debts.
According to the report, Blackstone will be acquiring the company from Silver Lake, Spectrum Equity, and Permira. Minority stakeholder GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, will keep its significant share in Ancestry.com.
This $4.7 billion acquisition will result in Blackstone buying customers’ DNA data at $261 per person, said CBS News. This is expected to drive Ancestry.com’s valuation from $2.6 billion four years back when Silver Lake and GIC made their investments.
Ancestry.com is a genealogy provider that offers DNA services to track their health and genetic health risks. This service is often used to create personalized medical treatments based on the patient’s DNA.
It currently has over 3 million customers across 30 countries. It also has an annual revenue of $1 billion. To perform its services, the company made advancements in DNA testing and mobiles for offering expansion and accessibility.
Blackstone is optimistic that the stay-at-home measures during the current virus pandemic will drive more customers toward the service.
Senior managing director David Kestnbaum said, “We believe Ancestry has significant runway for further growth as people of all ages and background become increasingly interested in learning more about their family histories and themselves.”
The scope of the data purchased
While the general category of the information Blackstone will obtain is genealogy or DNA data, CBS News highlighted that it will cover the info of hundreds of millions of people, which Ancestry.com gathered from public databases.
However, the most crucial type of data the equity firm will acquire is DNA results, which is composed of the information of 18 million individuals.
Regarding such concern, a Blackstone spokesperson said, “We are deeply committed to ensuring that Ancestry has world-class consumer privacy and cyber security protections.” The firm will also support investments in security and protection.
Moreover, the spokesperson said that the private equity firm will not be able to access DNA and family tree data. It will also not be able to share such information with other companies under its portfolio.
Ancestry supported this claim emphasizing its commitment to privacy and being good stewards of such personal info. Additionally, it assured that customers will “always maintain ownership and control over their own data.”