Salesforce.com To Acquire ExactTarget In $2.5 Billion Deal


Salesforce.com has announced the $2.5 billion purchase of ExactTarget, an Indianapolis-based, publicly traded company that specializes in cross-channel, digital-marketing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions.

Under the terms of the agreement, salesforce.com will issue a tender offer for all outstanding shares of ExactTarget for $33.75 per share. The boards of both companies have already approved the deal.

The acquisition is expected to provide additional marketing functions to the Salesforce CRM platform, particularly around the use of email, mobile communications and social media, with related automation capabilities. ExactTarget also brings a reported 6,000 customers, including major brands such as Coca-Cola, Gap and Nike.

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With investments in digital marketing currently growing in excess of 20 percent, according to Gartner, the move is intended to help Salesforce more tightly integrate marketing functions into its existing CRM offerings.

"The CMO is expected to spend more on technology than the CIO by 2017," said salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, in a prepared statement. "The addition of ExactTarget makes Salesforce the starting place for every company and puts salesforce.com in the sole position to capture this opportunity."

The combination of CRM with marketing capabilities makes a lot of sense to Paul Smith, a partner with Datasmith Network Solutions of Walpole, Mass.

"People need to understand their client base and have a lot more data to work with these days, especially if they're using a lot of different media to reach their customers," he said. "So the fact that salesforce is picking up on this customer behavior method is going to be a strong advantage. The more that people know about their customers, the more likely they are to understand what those customers are buying, how they spend, what resource levels look like and what they need to buy moving forward. Also, data analytics is currently emerging as a major opportunity, and one that can help companies leverage the large quantities of information that are being gathered. So this is going to run parallel and consistent to that trend. It will be interesting to see how the forthcoming strategy evolves."

The acquisition is expected to increase total revenue by $120 million to $125 million for salesforce.com's fiscal year 2014. Non-GAAP earnings per share for fiscal year 2014 are expected to be reduced by $0.16. The transaction is expected to close late in salesforce.com's fiscal second quarter, ending July 31, 2013, thereby limiting the acquisition's impact on second-quarter financials.

PUBLISHED ON JUNE 4, 2013