Salesforce To Buy ExactTarget For $2.5 Billion, Gain More Ground In Marketing Automation

Salesforce_LogoIn an announcement released today from, the popular CRM platform has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire cloud-based marketing services provider ExactTarget for approximately $2.5 billion. Unanimously approved by the boards of directors for both companies, Salesforce will pay $33.75 per share in cash for all outstanding shares of ExactTarget.

According to a report on NYT’s Dealbook, the offer is 53 percent more than ExactTarget’s closing price yesterday.

This deal is Salesforce’s largest acquisition yet, and falls in line with the company’s previous acquisitions to retain cloud marketing solutions, buying Radian6 in 2011 followed by Buddy Media in 2012.

As stated in the release from, “The combination of ExactTarget’s industry-leading marketing automation and campaign management capabilities with’s leading social marketing solutions – listening with Radian6, publishing with Buddy Media, and advertising with – will deliver the marketing platform of choice for CMO’s.”

“Marketing was the fastest growing CRM category in 2012,” said Gartner’s Marketing Leaders Research managing VP Yvonne Genovese, who went on to claim that Gartner believes this trend will continue through 2017. Salesforce notes that Gartner estimates one-third of traditional consumer technology company marketing budgets will switch to digital by 2015, with CMOs spending more on information technology than CIOs by 2017.

Providing digital marketing services to more than 6,000 companies around the world, ExactTarget’s email, social and mobile capabilities will be leveraged to help, “…further its mission of being the world’s leading CRM platform.” The acquisition is expected to close by July 31, 2013, the end of’s fiscal second quarter.

Update: See Marketing Land’s follow-up story to read what marketing insiders are saying about the acquisition, and what it means for the industry.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Email Marketing | Internet Marketing Industry | Internet Marketing Industry: Acquisitions | Marketing Tools: General


About The Author: is Third Door Media's General Assignment Correspondent, and reports on the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including,, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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  • Frank Strong

    Are you kidding? This HUGE! I’m shocked this post doesn’t have more shares. What does this mean for all the folks that have implemented Eloqua while also using Salesforce? They are becoming a one-stop shop — and ExactTarget is clearly upstream which mirrors what Salesforce has done post-Radian6 and BuddyMedia acquisitions.

  • Sandhya Ramesh

    I can’t really say this comes as a big surprise. Having marketing automation for a CRM product is the only logical thing to do. A very successful CRM company like Salesforce should have taken this decision a long time ago. What is unexpected was the acquisition of Exact Target and not Marketo. I suppose the added benefits of Pardot and iGoDigital came into play here.
    This decision is a huge reinforcement to how much autmation is required in CRM systems. Small companies require it as much as large companies do. Marketo and Eloqua cater well to large businesses. Agile CRM(beta invites are finally being handed out!) provides email and marketing automation, along with social network integration built on top of the CRM itself. For small to medium businesses, that is definitely the way to go to save a whole bunch of money and effort.
    Of course, what this acquisition does to the interface is yet to be seen. Neither Salesforce, nor Exact Target had interfaces that were exactly pleasing to the eye.

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