Salesforce, a software as a service (SaaS) company based on customer relationship software, has bought digital marketing software maker ExactTarget for $2.5 billion in cash.
The purchase will be the largest in Salesforce's history, doubling the much discussed Yahoo purchase of Tumblr for $1 billion, and will provide the company with yet another well established cloud-based marketing program.
The purchase is also indicative of a growing demand for business to business services, especially in the realm of digital marketing. Salesforce, already a giant in the industry, is now in a safe selling position as more companies look for an all-in-one solution to meet their marketing needs.
ExactTarget is no lightweight either. The firm has lined up over 9,000 customers across the globe ranging from Coca Cola to Gap and Nike and has made a few acquisitions of its own. ExactTarget specializes in marketing through digital mediums like email, mobile, social media, web and marketing automation.
"ExactTarget's mission is to revolutionize how businesses connect with their consumers using data-driven digital marketing across all channels," Scott Dorsey, ExactTarget chairman, chief executive officer and co-founder said in a prepared statement.
Salesforce has been seeking to grow its cloud-based marketing offerings for some time, and has made the necessary purchases needed to establish itself in an increasingly competitive environment for consumer attention. Before Tuesday's acquisition, the company purchased Buddy Media in August of 2012 for $745 million, and Radian6, a social-media monitoring firm bought for $326 million in a combination cash and stock deal.
Other software giants, like Oracle, are also buying marketing software companies to pad its ad software offerings.
Buying ExactTarget is likely a good deal for Salesforce - cloud-based infrastructure will tie in nicely with Salesforce's pre-established mobile and social marketing products.
"Bringing it all together with mobile - another area of focus for Salesforce - makes perfect sense," Om Malik, founder of GigaOm said. "It is a good strategy to take especially as some of the older (software) guard starts to slip."
The deal is expected to close before July 31, 2013. The purchase, according to Salesforce, is also expected to increase the company's revenue to around $120 million in 2014.