Marketo is acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $1.79 billion

Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez said the deal will help further Marketo's go-to-market strategy around its enterprise platform for customer engagement.

Customer experience and marketing cloud provider Marketo is being acquired by the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners in a deal valued at about $1.79 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016.

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The acquisition confirms recent speculation that Marketo was shopping around for buyers, with one report last week suggesting Microsoft was preparing to make a bid for the San Mateo, California-based company.

"After careful consideration and deliberation, our Board of Directors unanimously concluded that the sale of Marketo to Vista Equity Partners was in the best interest of Marketo and its shareholders," said Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez, in a statement.

Fernandez added that the deal will help further Marketo's go-to-market strategy around its enterprise platform for customer engagement. Unlike many of its biggest rivals, Marketo has primarily focused on small and mid-market accounts for most of its 10-year existence.

But more recently Marketo has set its sights upmarket, with plans to roll out a next-generation platform that taps into multiple parts of an enterprise. Code-named Orion, the platform aims to combine analytics and interaction data and integrate it across a business.

As for Vista, the technology-focused private equity firm has acquired a bevy of companies, most recently the cloud-based event management company Cvent, which it bought last month for $1.65 billion.

"Marketo is the clear leader in the marketing automation space and has consistently delivered innovative mission critical products to its more than 4,600 customers," said Brian Sheth, co-founder and president of Vista. "Given our proven track record and focus on investing in high-growth SaaS platforms, we are thrilled to partner with Phil and the broader Marketo team to help the company accelerate innovation, growth, and excellence."

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