Today it was announced that privately owned The Generations Network is being acquired by Spectrum Equity Investors for $300 million. The asking price was $500 million. The Generations Network is the company that runs Ancestry.com, MyFamily.com and other geneology web sites. It’s based in Provo, Utah.
Their last round of financing valued the company at $100 million. TechCrunch reports that they are making $150 million or so in yearly revenue and that they’ve heard the company is hugely profitable. But there have been chronic cycles of layoffs and morale has seemed low at the company for quite some time. A few months ago the the CFO was laid off and there were offers and speculation that a buyout was coming.
The most recent Comscore data says TGN had 8.2 million unique worldwide visitors in August. They’ve raised $95 million to date.
Spectrum, is a private equity firm based in Menlo Park and Boston, is a shareholder in The Generations Network since 2003. The company’s current management team will continue to lead the company.
I worked first for Infobases in college which was owned by Paul Allen and Dan Taggart, who later bought Ancestry.com. I left right before a major layoff. Several years later, I worked for Ancestry.com as a web developer. I still know a few people there but I haven’t kept in touch. Disgruntled affiliates have posted me about changes in their affiliate program that have taken it from a top performer to the trash in a pretty short time.
The company has been tight-lipped prompting people to start blogs to try to get news.
Allen will probably be putting money from the sale of his stock into WVR. He commented about the speculation that he and others won’t benefit from the sale, saying:
“The comments on techcrunch about founders not benefitting and liquidation preferences are assumptions that are not well founded…people always speculate and don’t really know the facts.”