Salesforce.com acquires Buddy Media

The deal prompts the cloud computing company to slash full-year earnings-per-share estimates.

By Benzinga Jun 4, 2012 10:12AM

By Brett Callwood


Salesforce.com (CRM) announced Monday it has agreed to buy Buddy Media, a social media marketing company, for $689 million in cash and equity. CRM also adjusted its full-year revenue and earnings-per-share forecast to reflect the deal's impact. The deal will boost revenue but reduce full-year earnings per share.


On the surface, it appears to be a smart acquisition for the enterprise cloud computing company. Buddy Media gives users the ability to publish content and measure the usefulness and success of social media marketing. Its customers include some very high-profile clients, such as Ford (F), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), and Mattel (MAT).


But the deal brings more than a few big names to the table. Social media marketing is still very new, and its effectiveness is relatively hard to measure. Marketing firms constantly do research to bring clarity to the field. All we really know now is that there is a very big audience for ads online, but it's hard to know who is reading what and how to better target the social marketing.


Buddy Media hopes to change all of that. If it can do as it claims, then the acquisition will prove to be invaluable for Salesforce.com.


CRM will pay for Buddy Media with $467 million in cash, $184 million in stock, and $38 million in vested Salesforce options and restricted stock units.


"Social media has caused the biggest transformation in marketing since the 'Mad Men' era, causing chief marketing officers to completely rethink their strategies," said Marcel LeBrun, the senior vice president of Salesforce.com's Radian6, its social media analysis platform. "By bringing together market leaders Radian6 and Buddy Media, we are doubling down on the Salesforce marketing cloud to provide chief marketing officers with the ability to manage the entire social marketing lifecycle."


After the deal, Salesforce.com is expecting full-year profit of $1.45 to $1.49 per share, excluding special items, down from its earlier forecast of $1.60 to $1.63 per share.


Salesforce then raised its revenue outlook range to between $2.99 billion and $3.03 billion, from $2.97 billion to $3.00 billion.


The deal should be concluded during the third quarter.


CRM closed Friday at $130.99, up 29.11% year to date. Shares were down more than 3% in early trading Monday to $126.60.


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