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Family-tree site Ancestry delays IPO, CEO stepping down to become chairman

  • Ancestry CEO Tim Sullivan is moving to chairman.
  • The company — which runs online repositories of family trees, historical documents and DNA analysis — said in June it had filed paperwork to go public.
  • Ancestry says it achieved 40 percent revenue growth in the second quarter and expects $1 billion in revenue this year, a growth rate of about 30 percent.
Cars drive by the Nasdaq headquarters in New York City.
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Cars drive by the Nasdaq headquarters in New York City.

Ancestry CEO Tim Sullivan announced on Tuesday he is leaving his post, and the company is delaying its forthcoming IPO.

Sullivan, who led the company for 12 years, will become chairman in October, the company said, while Chief Financial Officer Howard Hochhauser will be interim CEO amid an external search for CEO candidates.

The company, which runs online repositories of family trees, historical documents and DNA analysis, including Ancestry.com, said in June it had filed paperwork to go public.

Although a full prospectus has not been released, Sullivan said in a statement that Ancestry achieved 40 percent revenue growth in the second quarter and expects to make $1 billion in revenue this year, a growth rate of about 30 percent. He said that with the company's roadmap in place, it was the right moment to move to the board.

If this all sounds familiar, that's because Ancestry first went public in 2009 on the Nasdaq with the ticker ACOM in a $100 million IPO.

The company went private through a $1.6 billion private equity acquisition in 2012, and was valued at $2.6 billion in an investment round last year. Over time, it has grown considerably. Headcount has more than doubled, from 700 in 2009 to almost 1,600.

But Ancestry also faces competition because genomics has become more mainstream, with upstarts like Color Genomics and 23andMe getting big-time backers. Still, Ancestry says subscriber growth is at a four-year high.