Salesforce to acquire Buddy Media

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An image from Salesforce.com
An image from Salesforce.com

Salesforce.com will acquire Buddy Media, a social commerce company, for $689 million in cash and Salesforce.com equity, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a June 4 conference call.

Benioff stated he spoke with about 10 CEOs of other major social marketing companies before settling on Buddy Media as the acquisition target. "Buddy Media is the number one provider in this area," he said. "The more time we spent, it was clear to me that we needed to buy number one."

The acquisition is set to complete during Q3 this year, Benioff said.

“There's nothing about the climate that contributed to the timing of this,” said Mike Lazerow, CEO and founder of Buddy Media. “This was a deal that was in the works well before the Facebook IPO.”

Lazerow added that many of Salesforce.com's customers were already using Buddy Media, and were looking for ways to incorporate social media into their cloud marketing system. So, he said, the fit was natural. The acquisition comes just three months after Susan St. Ledger, former Salesforce industry vertical SVP, was named president of Buddy Media.

Benioff said social CRM and social media will likely be key to the future of marketing, which increased the need for the acquisition. In March 2011, Salesforce.com acquired social media monitoring company Radian6.

“Because of social, now all of our customers are social,” said Marcel LeBrun, SVP and GM of Salesforce Radian6. “The cloud is not just a place where you put your business data. It's where your customers live. It just seems obvious that companies need to build connections with their customers in the cloud.”

It is not yet certain what the titles will be of Buddy Media's top level executives after the acquisition is complete, Le Brun said. Buddy Media will retain its brand within Salesforce.com, he said.

No layoffs will occur as a result of the acquisition, and all Buddy Media employees are being offered jobs at Salesforce.com, Lazerow said.

The acquisition was made in $467 million cash, $184 million in stock and $38 million in Salesforce.com options, said Salesforce CFO Graham Smith in a conference call. New York-based Buddy Media was started in 2007 and has about 300 employees, he said. "We believe that over time, the marketing cloud can become our fourth billion-dollar business, alongside the sales cloud, service cloud and platform," he said.

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