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Reuters – PE Firms Circle Ancestry.com

(Reuters) – Ancestry.com Inc, the family-history research website, is exploring a sale to private equity firms and is hoping to solicit revised bids from them in early August, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

 

The Provo, Utah-based company, whose website helps users trace their family roots by scouring online records, has already taken first offers, the sources added, cautioning that it was not clear whether a sale would happen.

 

Permira Advisers LLP and Providence Equity Partners are among the buyout firms participating in the process, the sources said.

 

Representatives of Ancestry.com, Permira and Providence declined to comment.

 

Analysts have suggested Ancestry.com could fetch more than $35 per share. The company’s shares ended trading at $27.23 on Tuesday. They are up 21.3 percent year-to-date, strongly outperforming the S&P Internet Software & Services Index , which is up 3.6 percent.

 

Ancestry.com suffered a blow in May when U.S. network NBC decided not to renew the company’s TV show for a fourth season. The company sponsored the American version of the popular British series “Who Do You Think You Are?”

 

The show, built around tracing celebrities’ family history through Ancestry.com’s databases, was a major driver of new subscriber additions for the company’s website. It had about 1.7 million subscribers at the end of 2011.

 

Private equity firm Spectrum Equity Investors LP acquired a majority stake in the parent company that runs Ancestry.com and other sites for $300 million in 2007. The investor took Ancestry.com public two years later in a $100 million offering.

 

A spokesman for Spectrum, which owned about 31 percent of Ancestry.com as of the end of March, declined to comment. (By Greg Roumeliotis and Soyoung Kim)

Image Credit: Ancestry.com