Oracle acquires Eloqua

Proclaiming that Eloqua will become “the centerpiece of the Oracle Marketing Cloud,” Oracle announced its acquisition of the provider of cloud-based marketing automation for approximately $871 million on December 20.

Oracle intends to use the acquisition to lift its profile in the marketing services industry, noting in a press release about the deal that “the combination of Oracle and Eloqua is expected to create a comprehensive Customer Experience Cloud offering to help companies transform the way they market, sell, support, and serve their customers.” The company also says it expects to provide marketers with heightened capabilities in multichannel marketing, lead generation, and loyalty efforts via social and online interactions.

“Modern marketing practices are driving revenue growth and [it’s] a critical area of investment for companies today,” says Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of Oracle Development.

In a blog on Eloqua’s website, chairman and CEO Joe Payne suggested that Eloqua’s contact and revenue performances services fill a gap in Oracle’s Customer Experience Cloud that currently includes commerce, sales, service, and social marketing. “ [Oracle] plans to make Eloqua and our current management team and employees the centerpiece of its marketing cloud offering,” Payne says, adding, “We believe that together we can accelerate the pace of modern marketing.”

Forrester analyst Rob Brosnan sees the acquisition as an instant upgrade for marketing-related offerings of the California-based software company. “Oracle already has a play in the marketing automation space, but it’s an older take,” he says. “Purchasing Eloqua is a do-over in some ways, validating an eventual convergence between B2B nurturing techniques and larger scale customer relationship marketing.”

Stephane Dehoche, president and CEO of marketing automation provider Neolane, thinks Oracle’s move validates the relevance of marketing technology. “Oracle is realizing it’s missing market share and is trying to fill a major gap,” he says. “This acquisition indicates a continued shift away from tactical marketing and towards strategic services that deliver on-demand relevant, customer experiences.”

Eloqua serves some 1,200 clients globally, including Google, Dell, Equifax, Comcast, and NBA champion Miami Heat. The Virginia-based company claims to enhance companies’ marketing campaign execution, testing, measurement, prospect profiling, and lead nurturing by revealing to them their customers’ “Digital Body Language,” a term Eloqua has has trademarked.

Eloqua’s board of directors unanimously approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of 2013, subject to Eloqua stockholder approval.

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