San Francisco—Salesforce.com will buy marketing technology company ExactTarget Inc. for about $2.5 billion, the largest technology acquisition this year.
The move allows Salesforce, a CRM company that has expanded its capabilities in social media and customer service, to create “a world-class marketing platform across email, social, mobile and the Web,” the company said in a statement.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff indicated the acquisition signals a breakout from the company's traditional CRM roots and directly targets the marketing function.
“The CMO is expected to spend more on technology than the CIO by 2017,” Benioff said, in a statement. “The addition of ExactTarget makes Salesforce the starting place for every company and puts Salesforce.com in the pole position to capture this opportunity.”
Indianapolis-based ExactTarget originated as an email service provider and plugs a significant hole in Salesforce's overall offerings. ExactTarget has added a variety of marketing functions, including mobile, social media, data and analytics. With such customers as Coca-Cola Co., Gap Inc. and Nike Inc., the company bills itself as an integrated marketing platform.