Salesforce To Splash $2.5bn On ExactTarget

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Marc Benioff’s cloud giant makes its most costly acquisition to date

Salesforce is again set to splash out to boost its marketing prowess, chucking a whopping $2.5 billion (£1.6bn) on rival cloud-based service ExactTarget.

A Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company like Salesforce, ExactTarget was founded back in 2000. It has scored some top customers over the last 13 years, including Coca-Cola and Nike, helping run their digital marketing.

Salesforce cloudSalesforce, which is still a loss making firm despite its strong revenue growth, has agreed to pay $33.75 per share in cash for ExactTarget – a 53 percent premium above the company’s $22.10 closing price on Monday.

Salesforce, a big spender

It’s the most costly acquisition Salesforce has made to date, but the cloud company remains confident it will soon become a $1 billion a quarter company, in terms of revenue.

ExactTarget lets marketers “integrate customer data from any source to power digital marketing campaigns”, whilst automating many processes.

Salesforce recently told TechWeekEurope it was looking at ways to exploit so-called Big Data, possibly through an acquisition, but hinted it wasn’t going down a traditional  analytics route. Instead, it appears the company will focus on its core customer relationship management (CRM) strategies, which includes marketing, when it comes to dealing with deluges of data.

“The CMO is expected to spend more on technology than the CIO by 2017,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com. “The addition of ExactTarget makes Salesforce the starting place for every company and puts Salesforce.com in the pole position to capture this opportunity.”

The ExactTarget deal is expected to close before the end of July.

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