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Ancestry.com is selling a 75% stake to Blackstone for $4.7 billion

Ancestry.com users may feel skittish that their personal DNA information has a new owner.

Ancestry.com is selling a 75% stake to Blackstone for $4.7 billion
[Photo: Laura Fuhrman/Unsplash]

Genealogy and DNA-testing behemoth Ancestry.com is selling 75% of itself to alternative asset manager Blackstone Group, according to a report from Bloomberg. The total deal is valued at $4.7 billion including debt.

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The sale for a 75% stake in Ancestry.com is a big win for its owners. Just over a decade ago, Ancestry.com went public for only $100 million. A few years later in 2012, it went private again for $1.6 billion. Blackstone’s reported purchase for just 75% of the company is almost three times the 2012 valuation for the entire company.

Ancestry.com used to offer genealogy services based on data trails only. However, in recent years the company has begun offering DNA-based genealogy tracking to better compete with other DNA testing kit providers such as 23andMe. Currently, the Utah-based Ancestry.com has 3 million paying subscribers and over 18 million people in its DNA network.

While the sale might be good for those who hold ownership of Ancestry.com, its users may feel a little more skittish. Now an alternative asset manager will presumably have 75% ownership over 18 million people’s DNA. While there’s no reason to believe Blackstone would do anything nefarious with such information, it goes to show how even our most personal information—our literal DNA—can quickly change hands in the era where data is the new gold and companies want as much of it as possible.

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