Salesforce.com has announced a definitive agreement to acquire social media monitoring firm Radian6 in a $326m (£203m) deal which will help expand the customer relationship management firm's social capabilities.
The acquisition underlines the growing importance companies are placing on monitoring brand reputation online, as sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn dominate online conversations.
The service also monitors discussion boards and blogs, and is used by numerous large companies including Dell, GE, Kodak and UPS.
Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce.com, claimed that the deal will give the firm a huge advantage by expanding the in-built functionalities that it can offer customers.
"With Radian6, Salesforce.com is gaining the technology and market leader in social media monitoring. We see this as a huge opportunity. Not only will this acquisition accelerate our growth, it will extend the value of all of our offerings," he said.
Radian6 chief executive, Marcel LeBrun added that the deal will allow many more businesses to benefit from the firm's technology by using the strength of Salesforce.com and its wide customer base.
"Social media has made every business recognise the value of paying attention to the voice of the customer. Radian6's technology is built for the new norm of customer engagement: real-time two-way conversations that include social channels," he said.
"Joining the Salesforce.com team will allow Radian6 to grow faster to meet the demands of our rapidly expanding customer base."
Salesforce.com expects the deal to be completed by 31 July.
Andrew Yates, chief executive of web monitoring firm Artesian Solutions, agreed that the deal highlights the huge growth of social CRM.
"The Salesforce.com acquisition will be an interesting one in terms of the collision of two cultures - Radian6 from the marketing and PR camp, and Salesforce from the enterprise software world of Oracle and Siebel," he said.
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