Salesforce's biggest acquisition yet: ExactTarget for $2.5B

Representing the largest acquisition by Salesforce to date, the CRM market leader will buy all the outstanding shares in ExactTarget for $2.5 billion — paying a stock premium of more than 50 percent on its recent share price.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Marc Benioff on stage in San Francisco.
Image: James Martin/CNET

Salesforce has entered a definitive agreement to acquire ExactTarget, a digital marketing software firm, for $2.5 billion, marking the cloud software company's biggest acquisition to date. 

Under the terms of the deal, Salesforce will buy all the outstanding shares of ExactTarget for $33.75 per share in cash, marking a premium of more than 50 percent on the company's stock closing price on Monday.

"The CMO is expected to spend more on technology than the CIO by 2017," said Salesforce chairman and chief executive Marc Benioff in prepared remarks. "The addition of ExactTarget makes Salesforce the starting place for every company."

According to Gartner, marketing was the fastest-growing CRM category in 2012, rocketing to 21 percent, or more than four-times the expected growth through 2012.

Indianapolis, Indiana-based ExactTarget provides Web-based software for marketing purposes, such as marketing through email, mobile, and social media. Offering its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, the company will snugly fit within Salesforce's parameters. With customers ranging from Coca-Cola, Nike, and Gap, the e-marketing firm still left the financial year with a loss of $21 million on revenue of $292 million.

On Salesforce's financials side of things, the firm expects the deal will add $120-125 million in revenue during the 2014 fiscal year. Revenue for the company's full fiscal year 2014 is expected to be in the range of $3.95-$4 billion, an increase of about 30 percent year-over-year.

The deal, which has been cleared by both companies' boards, is set to close before the end of the second quarter on July 31.

ExactTarget ($ET) rose by more than 53 percent in premarket trading at 8:45 a.m. ET, while Salesforce ($CRM) dipped by 2.5 percent before the bell.

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