Salesforce.com buying ExactTarget for $2.5 billion

The deal raises questions about Salesforce.com's future relationship with marketing software partners

Salesforce.com is set to deepen its reach into marketing software with the purchase of ExactTarget for about $2.5 billion. The deal, which was announced Tuesday, is scheduled to close by the end of July.

While Salesforce.com already had an assortment of marketing-related technology, particularly for running ads on social media sites, ExactTarget's focus is on multi-channel marketing automation, an area where Salesforce.com has generally relied on partners such as Marketo.

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It's no secret why Salesforce.com is interested in expanding its portfolio in marketing software. For one thing, Gartner has predicted that chief marketing officers will spend more money on IT than CIOs by 2017, as Salesforce.com noted in its announcement.

Salesforce.com and ExactTarget's products, when combined, will "create a world-class marketing platform across email, social, mobile and the web," Salesforce.com said in a statement.

ExactTarget has more than 6,000 customers, among them Coca-Cola and Nike, according to the announcement.

Salesforce.com and ExactTarget executives are expected to discuss the deal further during a conference call Tuesday.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.

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