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Permira Advisers LLP resumed talks with Ancestry.com (ACOM) Inc. for a takeover of the family-history research website at about $32 a share after earlier discussions stumbled over price, said people familiar with the situation.
Talks stalled because Ancestry.com sought at least $38 a share and Permira wouldn’t bid more than $32, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. London-based Permira is still seeking financing for a deal, which might fail to materialize, said one of the people.
Ancestry.com slipped 1.7 percent to $29.69 at the close in New York, paring an earlier surge of 7.7 percent, amid disappointment that the company hasn’t secured a higher offer and on concern that a deal may not happen. Prior talks with TPG Capital didn’t pan out, and the company has rebuffed a bid of $35 a share, people familiar with the situation said in August.
“It’s such a long, drawn-out process,” Raghavan Sarathy, an analyst for Dougherty & Co., said in an interview. Some investors who bought shares expecting an upside from a sale may have sold today, he said. “They’re not going to be playing this for a 10 percent upside.”
Ancestry.com has surged 31 percent since Bloomberg News reported June 5 that it hired Qatalyst Partners LLC to find buyers. The Provo, Utah-based company has a market value of $1.28 billion.
While buyout firms KKR & Co. and Providence Equity Partners Inc. expressed interest in Ancestry.com early on, they didn’t submit bids because they considered it too expensive, the people said in August.
Ancestry.com was founded in 1983 as a publisher of genealogical books and magazines, and later digitized its content. Heather Erickson, a spokeswoman for Ancestry.com, declined to comment. Brooke Gordon, a spokeswoman for Permira, declined to comment.
Ancestry.com reported second-quarter sales and profit in July that topped analysts’ estimates, citing user gains and demand for new products. At the time, the company said it had passed the 2 million user mark by providing access to more information, including on DNA and U.S. Census figures, and raised its sales forecast (ACOM) for 2012 to as much as $480 million.
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