Salesforce has agreed to acquire cloud marketing firm ExactTarget for $2.5bn, a 53 percent premium on the firm's pre-deal trading price.
Salesforce intends to use the acquisition to bolster its digital marketing capabilities, as the cloud pioneer recognises the burgeoning IT spending clout that is being wielded outside the traditional IT department.
Marc Benioff, chief executive at Salesforce.com, said: “The [chief marketing officer] is expected to spend more on technology than the CIO by 2017. The addition of ExactTarget makes Salesforce the starting place for every company and puts Salesforce.com in the pole position to capture this opportunity.”
Salesforce has already invested heavily in is marketing offerings, paying $276m for social media monitoring firm Radian 6 in 2011 and $689m for Buddy Media in 2012. But Salesforce clearly felt it had further work to do in strengthening its arsenal, given those previous deals and the premium it was willing to pay for ExactTarget.
ExactTarget's 6,000-plus client list, which includes the likes of Coca-Cola, Nike and Gap, may have added to its allure, wrote Angela Eager, an analyst with TechMarketView on a company blog.
“Salesforce.com is putting lot of faith as well as a lot of money into ExactTarget. It will substantially expand Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, which has good coverage of social channels thanks to previous Buddy Media and Radian6 acquisitions," she said. "Salesforce.com has momentum but as this deal indicates it is having to invest more extensively to maintain or increase the pace."
The deal, which is expected to close by 31 July, comes hot on the heels of IBM splashing out $2bn on cloud firm SoftLayer Technologies.
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