Family-history research website Ancestry.com Inc is mulling selling itself and has hired Frank Quattrone's Qatalyst Partners to find buyers, Bloomberg today reported, citing a person with knowledge of the situation.
The Provo, Utah-based company, which has a market capitalisation of about $964 million based on yesterday's closing price, may attract interest from private-equity firms, said the news agency.
Founded in 1983 and majority owned by Boston-based Spectrum Equity Investors, Ancestry.com is the largest online provider of family history information by operating websites that allow people to trace their family roots by searching from online records.
Ancestry.com is a subscription-based website with over 7 billion searchable records and more than 1.87 million paying subscribers. The majority of records are from the US, though it has been adding records from other countries, such as Canada, the UK, and European countries.
Some records are free, but the majority are accessible only through a paid subscription.
As of December 2011, the company provided access to more than 8 billion records and 31 million family trees.
Ancestry.com also operates Genealogy.com, MyFamily.com, ProGenealogists, and Rootsweb.com, and owns Footnote.com, which provides images of historical records.
Proprietary bodies of content distributed by the company include the 1930 US Census, the Ellis Island immigration passenger list, and the British phone directory listings since 1880.
The publicly traded company had just under $400 million in revenue in 2011. Ancestry.com had an operating income of $20.1 million in the first quarter on revenues of $108.5 million.
In April it acquired Silicon Valley-based startup and competitor Archives.com for $100 million in cash including debt.