BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Many learned of Ancestry.com ( ACOM) through email and TV ads, but few investors appreciate the quality and growth prospects of its service. Ancestry.com is based in Provo, Utah, and is the largest for-profit genealogy company in the world. Ancestry.com has more than 5 billion records online. An easy-to-use platform and near-zero competition have helped the company grow at a rapid pace. Ancestry's third-quarter revenue gained 39% to $57 million, boosted by 43% growth on its core Web site. Outstanding marketing initiatives, including the airing of Who Do You Think You Are on NBC, deal-pending subsidiary of Comcast ( CMCSA), have created buzz around Ancestry's network of sites. Subscribers increased 34% in the third-quarter and 5% sequentially, but the churn rate rose to 4%.
Average revenue per subscriber expanded 7.7% to $17.75. Free cash flow more than doubled from the year-earlier quarter to $20 million. Management took a $1.3 million charge to pay off a term loan, rendering its balance sheet debt-free. Ancestry has $80 million of cash, equivalents and short-term securities, positioning itself to grow without compromising its liquidity. Recently, the company acquired iArchives and its subsidiary Footnote.com, an American history Web site. It also purchased ProGenealogists, a forensic and family history research group. Furthermore, it is expanding its database of historical documents. Although Ancestry is an outstanding stand-alone company, it would be an ideal target for a certain technology company with oodles of cash and a similar penchant for collecting information -- yes, Google ( GOOG), which carries $32 billion of net cash, has suffered a 5.4% stock drop year-to-date and has made it a long-term mission to collect and organize all of the world's information. Ancestry, which has a market capitalization of $1.2 billion, is a no-brainer acquisition for Google. And if such a deal were to happen, there's no doubt that Google would have to pay Ancestry's shareholders a sizable premium for their stock. Ancestry would assist Google in its competition with still-burgeoning Facebook, which recently fired a shot across Google's bow by announcing an e-mail/messaging service that will directly compete with Google's Gmail/Gchat offerings. Ancestry could help Google bolster its knowledge base and cultivate a social element for its business model. For this same reason, it's probably a company that Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team are watching closely.