Analysts estimate that genealogy enthusiasts spend anywhere between $1,000 and $18,000 over a year to discover their roots. In January 2009, the number of people undergoing genetic genealogy testing to determine their roots were 765,000, compared with 650,000 people reportedly undertaking genetic testing as of November 2007. Besides genetic tests, several genealogy research websites are also helping people learn more about their origins.
One such player, Ancestry.com, listed for a short period on the Nasdaq last year before being acquired by a private equity firm. Before the sale, Ancestry announced impressive third quarter results. Revenue for the quarter grew 24% over the year to $128 million, driven by a 19% increase in the subscriber base. EPS of $0.54 was also higher than previous year’s net income of $0.40.
The company ended the quarter with a total subscriber base of 2.02 million, with gross subscriber additions of 286,000 compared with an addition of 274,000 in 2012. Subscriber monthly churn fell marginally from 4.2% a year ago to 3.9%. Ancestry also saw a significant drop in subscriber acquisition costs, which fell from $93.64 in 2012 to $84.14. The average monthly revenue per subscriber remained flat over the year at $18.68. The company continued to build its database and released the first complete and searchable 1940 U.S. Federal Census database, with 134 million searchable indexed records. At the end of the quarter, it had more than 11 billion records.
Ancestry.com Expands Through Acquisitions
Over the past year, Ancestry.com has made several acquisitions. Recently, it announced the acquisition of Archives.com, a family history website, for an estimated $100 million. Archives.com was a privately held organization with more than 440,000 paying subscribers paying an average subscription rate of $39.95 a year to access more than 2.2 billion historical records, including U.S. and U.K. censuses.
Earlier last quarter, the company also acquired 1000memories, a San Francisco–based startup that offers web and mobile apps to store, organize, share, and digitize print photographs. Through the app, users can organize photos and then share them with friends and family through email invitations. Users can also select photos to share on social media sites like Facebook. At the time of the acquisition, 1000memories had more than 260,000 users, and their mobile app accessed digitized versions of 1.7 trillion images.
Fueled by prospects for growth, Ancestry.com was recently acquired by the European private equity firm, Permira, for $1.6 billion. The stock had hit a year high of $21 a year since listing. The acquisition price of $32 a share is a 52% premium over the 52-week high price.