Oracle announced today that it will acquire Eloqua, Inc. for $871 million. Oracle will pay $23.50 per share for Eloqua, a 31% premium over the marketing automation vendor's closing stock price of $17.92 yesterday.
According to an Oracle news release, it will use Eloqua's technology to create a "Customer Experience Cloud" offering enterprises a single, end-to-end suite of cloud applications to acquire, sell to, service and support customers. Specifically, Oracle apparently plans to rebrand Eloqua's marketing automation platform as the "Oracle Marketing Cloud" and to position it alongside its current customer experience offerings.
"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 Kurlan, Executive Vice President, Oracle Development, in a prepared statement.
Our Take: Eloqua Goes First – But It Won't Go Last
This is a breaking story, and Demand Gen Report will provide updates and additional commentary as it becomes available. This deal, however, is clearly going to set off a seismic shift in the marketing automation market on several levels:
- First, the deal changes the rules of engagement for other CRM vendors in this space. Microsoft, SAP and especially Salesforce.com will come under heavy pressure to acquire mature marketing automation solutions in order to compete against a soup-to-nuts Oracle customer experience suite.
- The deal will have an especially significant impact on Salesforce.com, which has limited its "Marketing Cloud" strategy mostly to social marketing acquisitions such as Buddy Media and Radian6. At this point, given the intense rivalry between Salesforce and Oracle, how can Salesforce afford not to respond with a strategic acquisition of its own? (It's also interesting to note that Salesforce is currently an Eloqua client.)
- Finally, other marketing automation vendors will likely scramble to reposition themselves in the wake of the Oracle-Eloqua deal. Some will increasingly market themselves based on best-of-breed flexibility and ease of use; others, no doubt, are calculating the odds that they'll be the next winners in the CRM vendor acquisition lottery.
Stay tuned, this is sure to be the beginning of a very interesting period for the marketing automation industry.