Salesforce Buys Krux, the Data-Management Platform, for $700 Million

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Customer management powerhouse Salesforce has made a splash of a purchase that isn't Twitter, the subject of splashy acquisition rumors last week.

Instead of Twitter, Salesforce has acquired data-management platform Krux for $700 million in an even mix of cash and stock, according to a company filing with the SEC.

Marketers use data-management platforms, more commonly known as DMPs, to make sense of first-party data from customer email addresses to sales figures. They hope that better combining, analyzing and linking that data with third-party information can help them design and target their sales pitches.

The move should allow Salesforce to provide its customers with uniquely tailored solutions for its Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform, which already includes social and audience tools, among other things.

Under immense pressure from rivals including Oracle and Adobe, Salesforce has also recently invested in artificial intelligence-powered services to automate repetitive, time-consuming processes and improve its services. Earlier this month, it rolled out Einstein, which it says uses A.I. to improve the company's broad portfolio of products by, for example, making predictions and prioritizing tasks. The company in August forecast sales in the third quarter that fell short of some analyst estimates.

"Oracle and their data and marketing cloud were laying claim to being experts so I think in some regards, Krux allows Salesforce to differentiate themselves against other marketing clouds," said Greg Stuart, CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association. "This deal has upped the ante that Salesforce is moving in the data-management space as other marketing clouds have already done."

Krux CEO Tom Chavez said in a statement that the deal will increase the precision of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud's audience segmentation and targeting. "In addition, Krux will feed Salesforce Einstein with billions of new signals, enabling companies to be even smarter about their customers," he said. "Krux and Salesforce together will empower every company to deliver more relevant and valuable consumer experiences across every touchpoint."

The six-year-old Krux works with major brands like Spotify, Centro, Kellogg's, Warner Brothers and Peugeot. It also brings a multitude of partners to the table and has relationships with other DMP players such as Acxiom's LiveRamp.

The news comes on the eve of Salesforce's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco this week, where it is expected to draw more than 170,000 attendees and many more online viewers, according to Salesforce CMO Simon Mulcahy.