Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rising costs of travel to the UK makes Ancestry.com look like a bargain

Seven years ago my wife and I travelled from South Africa to the UK for a holiday. It was the first time I had visited the UK for nearly 40 years, and it was only after I had been there the first time that I had become interested in family history, and discovered where many of my ancestors had lived. We hired a car and drove around for three weeks, visiting living relatives and some old friends, and visiting places where our dead ancestors had lived. You can see some of the places we visited here.

We have thought of doing the same thing once more before we die, but rising costs make it seem impossible. Seven years ago, the cost of a subscription to Ancestry.com looked exorbitant. Now a single visa to visit the UK costs more -- before thinking of paying plane fares, airport taxes and all the rest. In 2005 we did not need visas at all.

Permira to Buy Ancestry.com for $1.6 Billion - NYTimes.com:
A consortium led by the European private equity firm Permira has agreed to buy Ancestry.com for around $1.6 billion. Under the terms of the deal, Permira and its partners will pay $32 a share for Ancestry.com, a genealogy Web site. The agreement represents a 40 percent premium to the company’s closing share price in June, when the potential acquisition was first reported. Permira, which will retain majority control, is partnering with Spectrum Equity, a venture capital firm and an early backer of Ancestry.com, and several of the European private equity firm’s direct investors. The Web site’s management also will invest in the deal.

But if the recession has affected the cost of travel, it has also affected Ancestry.com, because further on in the article we read:

After hitting a $45 high in 2011, its stock price has tumbled to around $29 on concerns that consumers are reducing their spending because of the economic crisis.

The company was started in the 1990s, and has remained profitable despite concerns about the revenue growth of other Internet businesses. Last year, Ancestry.com’s net profit roughly doubled, to $62.9 million, on revenue of $400 million. It has more than two million subscribers who pay up to $34.95 a month to use the service.

But, recession or no recession, that still looks like a very healthy profit margin to me.

I wonder how much the UK government is making on its visas.



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