Oracle to Acquire Eloqua for $871 Million

Following marketing automation solutions provider Eloqua's $92 million-producing IPO this summer, it was announced today that the company will be acquired by enterprise software company Oracle for $871 million. The close date is expected in the first half of 2013.

Out of the acquisition will come a comprehensive Customer Experience Cloud offering, Oracle said, that "will transform the way [companies] market, sell, support, and serve their customers."

"Eloqua's leading marketing automation cloud will become the centerpiece of the Oracle Marketing Cloud and is an important addition to the Oracle Customer Experience offering, which includes the Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle Commerce Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud, Oracle Content Cloud, and Oracle Social Cloud," said Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of Oracle Development, in a statement.

Joe Payne, chairman and CEO of Eloqua, remarked that delivering a 360-degree customer experience relies on providing a "highly personalized buying experience." In early November, Eloqua came out with a new channel, Eloqua AdFocus, with the goal of giving marketers a way to manage targeted and personalized display advertisements using its Campaign Canvas tool.

Eloqua had already displayed strong social capabilities, last year launching a Social Media Suite with social sign-ons, Twitter dashboards, and Klout integrations allowing marketers to measure lead quality. Eloqua had recently teamed up with Salesforce.com and integrated enterprise social collaboration tool Chatter within its marketing automation system.

Salesforce.com, billed as Oracle's top competitor in software-as-a-service application development, debuted its Marketing Cloud in September during the Dreamforce conference, and combined social media marketing and monitoring platforms Buddy Media and Radian6 into the solution. It was during Salesforce.com's New York Cloudforce event that 20 social analytics vendors were ushered into the Marketing Cloud Social Insights Partner program.

In an interview with CRM this summer, Oracle president Mark Hurd's response to future acquisitions in the social analytics space (after Oracle's snapping up of Collective Intellect and Vitrue) was this: "We've got $32 billion in cash. We produced last year roughly $14 billion in cash flow…our view of this social marketing stuff…you've got a lot of information that we think can potentially be valuable information for our customers about their brands out in the market that's broader than the traditional mechanisms and the traditional listening posts."

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