Salesforce announces deal to buy digital marketing firm ExactTarget for $2.5 billion

Salesforce announces deal to buy digital marketing firm ExactTarget for $2.5 billion

Salesforce has just announced that it has it has bought digital marketing software maker ExactTarget in a deal worth $2.5 billion.

ExactTarget provides a range of products that help companies make more of their cross-platform presence to grow their sales, marketing reach and customer relations. The Indianapolis, Indiana-headquartered firm has nearly 2,000 staff across Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America, and claims more than 9,000 global customers, including Coca Cola, Gap and Nike.

Here’s the condensed blurb of what the firm does in more detail:

ExactTarget is a leading global provider of cross-channel digital marketing software-as-a-service solutions that empower organizations of all sizes to communicate with their customers through email, mobile, social media, web and marketing automation. ExactTarget’s suite of integrated applications enables marketers to plan, automate, deliver and optimize data-driven digital marketing and real-time communications to drive customer engagement, increase sales and improve return on marketing investment.

An announcement from Salesforce explains the synergies:’s acquisition of ExactTarget will further its mission of being the world’s leading CRM platform—one that enables companies to transform how they connect with their customers across sales, service, and marketing. By combining ExactTarget’s leading digital marketing capabilities with’s leading sales, service and social marketing solutions, will create a world-class marketing platform across email, social, mobile and the web.

“This is a really historic day for cloud computing. We are just thrilled,” said Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff speaking on a conference call to announce the deal. “We also need to work even harder to be number one at marketing. Marketing is rapidly evolving…there’s no doubt our whole industry is changing.”

Benioff went on to call the coming together a “perfect partnership” that will combine the two firms services and offerings “in a way we’ve never been able to before”.

A big part of that is revenue and Salesforce says its new acquisition will increase the total sales in its second quarter by up to $125 million. Furthermore, it expects revenue to grow by 30 percent for its 2013 financial year.

The acquisition is all cash and is expected to close before July 31, 2013,

ExactTarget was founded in 2000 and went public on the New York Stock Exchange last March in a deal that raised $100 million. It aborted a first attempt to list in 2009, after securing $70 million in funding.

The company has done big deals of its own and it acquired marketing automation firm Pardot for $90 million and Web personalization provider iGoDigital for $21 million in a double deal announced last October.

The multi-billion dollar deal is another example of the value of business-to-business companies, and is further testament to Salesforce’s growing might and power in the marketing and sales space.

Salesforce regularly extends its service with deals for promising companies, its recent acquisitions include Clipboard ($12 million), Buddy Media ($689 million) and GoInstant ($70 million), among others.

Image via Thinkstock

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