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European Investment Group Permira to Acquire Ancestry.com for $1.6B

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Ancestry.com and Permira this week announced a merger agreement under which Permira Advisors LLP, a company held by Permira and other investors, will acquire Provo, Utah-based Ancestry.com for $32 per share in cash, a transaction valued at $1.6 billion.

The companies noted in a statement that the deal is subject to the approval of shareholders and customary closing conditions and that they expect it to close in early 2013.

Headquartered in London, Permira has offices around the world and advises funds with a total committed capital of $26 billion. Ancestry.com CEO Tim Sullivan said that the agreement with Permira will allow it to "keep investing in our technology and product experience" and to "make family history easy and accessible for more and more families around the world."

In addition to offering its 2-million-plus subscribers access to digitized and indexed records, Ancestry.com in May entered the genetic genealogy market, launching AncestryDNA, an autosomal DNA testing service (BAN 5/29/2012). AncestryDNA relies on Illumina HumanOmniExpress BeadChips to generate data that is used to inform clients about their relationships to other subscribers and deep ancestry. The company recently said it plans to make the raw data from the service downloadable for interested users (see related story, this issue).

Should the deal close as expected, Ancestry.com's focus will "continue to be on investing in content, technology, and its user experience, expanding its product offerings in areas like DNA, and building the Ancestry.com brand and the family history category, all on a global basis," the companies said.

Ancestry.com said it will file additional details regarding the transaction shortly with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and in proxy materials to be provided to the company's stockholders in connection with a special meeting to vote on the merger.

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