Investment Will Support and Accelerate Companyâ€™s Strategic Direction and Growth Plan
PROVO, UTAH â€“ October 17, 2007 â€“ The Generations Network, Inc., today announced that Spectrum Equity Investors will lead an investment of $300 million to purchase a majority interest in the company. Spectrum, a private equity firm based in Menlo Park and Boston, has been a shareholder in The Generations Network since 2003. Following the transaction, Vic Parker and Ben Spero from Spectrum will serve on the companyâ€™s new board of directors, along with Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of The Generations Network. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.Â The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory and closing conditions and is expected to close in 2007.
The Generations Networkâ€™s portfolio of sites and products includes Ancestry.com and seven international Ancestry sites, myfamily.com, Rootsweb.com, Genealogy.com, Family Tree MakerÂ® and Ancestry Magazine. The companyâ€™s current management team will continue to lead the company.
â€œAs an investor in The Generations Network for the past four years, we have watched the company revolutionize the family history category by leveraging the power of the Internet to make it more accessible and easy for anyone,â€ said Vic Parker, Managing Partner, Spectrum Equity Investors. â€œAncestry.com and myfamily.com are clear category leaders in the growing and rapidly evolving family history and family networking markets. We are excited to partner with The Generations Network management team to continue growing this truly unique company that has the power to impact users at a very personal and emotional level.â€
The Generations Network properties have more than 900,000 paying subscribers and receive 8.2 million worldwide unique visitors per month (Â© comScore Media Metrix, August 2007). In the last 18 months, the company has solidified its position as one of the largest and most profitable subscription businesses online with success in several areas:
â€¢Â Ancestry.com is the worldâ€™s leading online family history resource, with more than 5 billion names from historical records, unmatched and proprietary search technologies and an engaged and passionate community of more than 2.5 million active members.
â€¢Â A redesigned Ancestry.com experience has transformed an online research tool into a platform for aggregating the worldâ€™s family history memories. Since late July 2006, more than 3.8 million family trees have been created on Ancestry.com, over 330 million names added to Ancestry Family TreesTM, and more than 3.5 million individual photos, stories, or scanned documents have been uploaded by members.
â€¢Â Ancestry.com now boasts the only completely indexed online U.S. Federal Census Collection (1790-1930), the most comprehensive online compilation of U.S. ship passenger lists (1820-1960), the largest online collection of African American historical documents and the most comprehensive online collection of U.S. military records.
â€¢Â Beyond the United States, the Ancestry global network now includes local country sites for the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, France and Sweden.
â€¢Â The recent launch of DNA.ancestry.comTM now extends the Ancestry service into the rapidly growing field of genetic genealogy.
â€¢Â AncestryPressTM, a digital publishing platform integrated into Ancestry.com, now gives every family the ability to create completely unique, professionally printed family history books.
â€¢Â Family Tree MakerÂ® 2008, the No. 1-selling family history software package, is now available online and in major retail stores throughout North America and Europe.
â€¢Â The redesigned myfamily.com site now has new features, providing families everywhere a safe, private, and free family home on the Web.
â€œSpectrum Equity has been an incredibly supportive and strategic-minded investor in our company for several years, so I am thrilled to have them acquire this majority interest in The Generations Network,â€ said Tim Sullivan, company President and CEO. â€œ2007 has been the companyâ€™s most successful and profitable year to date, and 2008 looks even more promising as we grow our core businesses further, expand our global presence, and innovate with new products and services that help us realize our mission to connect families across distance and time. I appreciate Spectrumâ€™s vote of confidence in our direction and vision, and I am excited to work even more closely with Vic Parker and Ben Spero to continue to transform this amazing and unique business into a truly great company.â€
Lehman Brothers acted as financial advisor to The Generations Network, Inc. in the transaction.
About The Generations Network, Inc.
The Generations Network, Inc., founded in 1983, is the leading online network connecting families across distance and time. The Generations Network, Inc. provides people the content, community, and technology to empower them to find the people most important to them — and discover and share their unique family stories. The Generations Network operates eight Ancestry websites, including www.ancestry.com (United States), www.ancestry.co.uk (United Kingdom), www.ancestry.ca (Canada), www.ancestry.com.au (Australia), www.ancestry.de (Germany), www.ancestry.it (Italy), www.ancestry.fr (France), and www.ancestry.se (Sweden) as well as www.myfamily.com, www.genealogy.com, and www.rootsweb.com. The company also publishes Family Tree MakerÂ®, the No. 1-selling family history software, Ancestry Magazine and more than 50 book titles. For more information, visit www.thegenerationsnetwork.com.
About Spectrum Equity Investors
Spectrum Equity Investors is a private equity firm focused on investing in profitable, growing services businesses. Founded in 1994 with offices in Menlo Park and Boston, Spectrum manages over $4 billion in capital across five funds. The firmâ€™s investment team has deep experience in information services and online media, including investments in Demand Media, Interbank FX, iPay Technologies, NetQuote, Mortgagebot, RiskMetrics Group, Seisint (acquired by Reed Elsevier PLC.) and WorldCheck.Â For more information, visit www.spectrumequity.com.
Coltrin & Associates for Ancestry.com
212-221-1616 ext. 124
Tola St. Matthew-Daniel
Coltrin & Associates for Ancestry.com
212-221-1616 ext. 101
Spectrum now holds a majority interest in The Generations Network. Who are the other large stockholders? Will this change see a friendlier, more responsible attitude toward the genealogy community?
I don’t believe that Family Tree MakerÂ® 2008 is the No. 1-selling family history software package. It currently has more bugs than a Houston kitchen. It was released too soon and without complete and proper testing. Will the Sprectrum folks address quality control issues?
Let’s see some positive changes. If they have to reach out to Menlo Park and Boston, so be it.
Leland Meitzler and Dick Eastman have linked to a TechCrunch blog that discusses this acquisition – the link is at http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/16/private-buyout-of-ancestrycom-for-300-million/.
FWIW, I have posted my own comments and opinions on my Genea-Musings blog at http://randysmusings.blogspot.com/2007/10/tgn-acquired-whats-in-it-for-us.html.
I agree with Happy Dae. I am quite happy with my 2006 version and wouldn’t touch FTM-08 before some more work is done on it, I don’t need any additional headaches trying to learn a new experience ;o)……Perhaps someone should check the average age of the membership…I would think a lot of us are retired or close to retirement. I don’t need any more steep learning curves, I’m doing this as a hobby……. and get this, relaxation!~!
I agree that the 2008 version of Family Tree Maker is a mess. To add insult to injury, Ancestry.com refuses to refund my purchase price. Due to the wide range of problems I find it better to return to an earlier version of FTM. In that the company refuses to stand behind its products I will not be making additional purchases from Ancestry.com.
I am hearing lots of negative feedback regarding Ancestry.com from genealogical colleagues in at least two genealogical societies to which I belong.
In that a private equity group is seeking a “take over” of Ancestry.com, it probably will get worse.
Most of the new information I am finding for my family results from good old fashioned records searching in libraries and other areas. Ancestry has tons of new information, but so much of it is inaccessible and we have the delux membership. Will it get worse now?
I find it difficult to believe that any private equity company is interested in anything but making money. RootsWeb makes little money. Will it survive? Or will the content be dumped into ancestry and free access ended? Will ancestry subscriptions grow 20% in cost a year? How long will the whole Generations Network last if if cannot produce a 20% increase in net profit every year? Not to mention that the Spectrum portfolio focuses on internet technology, not content.