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Ancestry.com set for $1.6B acquisition deal: WSJ

The genealogy giant with more than 2 million subscribers is set to be acquired by a private-equity firm, in a bid to move into the Western European market.

Ancestry.com to be acquired for $1.6 billion: reports Screenshot by Zack Whittaker/CNET

Genealogy website Ancestry.com is to be acquired for $1.6 billion, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

European private-equity firm Permira will buy the firm for $32 a share, the Journal said, citing sources familiar with the deal.

The buying price is a slight increase on the company's $29 a share price at market close on Friday. The $1.6 billion valuation represents a premium of about 40 percent on the company's stock from June, before speculation began about the company being up for sale.

Permira currently has close to 200 investments in its portfolio, including in health care, consumer firms, and financial services. The deal would see Ancestry.com go private after close to three years on the Nasdaq.

Last quarter Ancestry.com generated $119 million in revenue, and expects to make up to $125 million in the coming quarter.

The "trace your ancestors" Web site has more than 10 billion historic records, including imagery, dating back to the 13th century from more than 40 countries.

The site currently serves 2 million subscribers wanting to trace their family trees -- chiefly in the U.S., although the site also has user bases located in the U.K., Australia, and Canada. According to the Journal's sources, there are plans to move into other key markets outside the U.S., including Western Europe.

Earlier this year, Ancestry.com acquired Archives.com for $100 million in a bid to drum up more subscribers by adding a larger tranche of historical records.

With Ancestry.com set to announce its third-quarter earnings later this week, we may have something official from the company by then.