Salesforce buys £1.6bn ExactTarget

businessmeetingCRM giant Salesforce.com has acquired digital marketing software specialist ExactTarget in a deal worth $2.5bn (£1.6bn), as part of plans to create a marketing platform across email, social, mobile and the Web.
The acquisition – the biggest ever for Salesforce.com – is its eighth in the past year and its second major purchase focused on social media. It acquired Buddy Media, which helps big brands manage Facebook and Twitter pages, last August.
ExactTarget provides internet-based marketing software used by businesses to personalise email and text messages and to run social media ad campaigns. The company, set up in 2000, has more than 6,000 business customers, including Coca-Cola, Gap and Nike.
Salesforce.com chief executive Marc Benioff claimed the deal was the company’s most important to date, but said it would now concentrate on bedding in its acquisitions.
“I really think you are going to see us taking a vacation from M&A for anywhere between probably 12 and 18 months,” he said on a conference call with analysts on Tuesday.
The deal coincides with IBM paying $2bn (£1.3bn) for cloud computing provider SoftLayer, and both acquisitions are being seen proof that the growth of the cloud is being driven not by IT but by marketing.
Last year, Gartner predicted that by 2017, chief marketing officers will have larger IT budgets than chief information officers. Using its own studies and data from Duke University, Gartner says 2011 marketing budgets were almost three times as high as IT budgets, while in 2012, IT budgets grew 4.7%, all marketing 9%, high-tech marketing 11%.

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