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Summary:

Responsys, a specialist in orchestrating cross-channel marketing, will become part of Oracle’s growing marketing automation effort. The deal is slated to close in the first half of next year.

Oracle continues to build its marketing software arsenal, announcing  plans on Friday to acquire Responsys, a San Bruno, Calif.-based specialist in multi-channel marketing for about $1.5 billion in cash.

The deal is further evidence that Oracle is bent on upping its rivalry with Salesforce.com, a big customer but increasingly a competitor to Oracle not just in CRM but in marketing automation and affiliated fields. Oracle bought Eloqua, a marketing automation specialist for $871 million in a deal announced exactly one year ago. Salesforce.com followed with the blockbuster $2.5 billion buy of ExactTarget in June. Adobe Systems, another horse in this race, bought Neolane for $600 million a few days after the ExactTarget deal.

In a statement about the deal, Oracle said:

“The addition of Responsys extends Oracle’s Customer Experience Cloud, which includes Commerce, Sales, Service, Social and the Oracle Marketing Cloud. By bringing together Responsys and Oracle Eloqua in the Marketing Cloud, for the first time CMOs that support industries with B2C or B2B business models will be equipped to drive exceptional customer experiences across marketing interactions and throughout the customer lifecycle from a single platform.”

Clearly all of these enterprise software players see more money flowing to marketing professionals and want to reap the benefits. On its website, Responsys claims such name-brand customers as JetBlue, Lufthansa, CitySports and Epson.

The deal is slated to finalize in the first half of 2014.

Update: This latest action will likely spur a flurry of new activity around marketing automation, said Sanford Bernstein Analyst Mark Moerdler in a research note. He expects Oracle and Adobe to launch smaller “bolt-on digital marketing acquisitions” to round out their portfolios, sparking M&A competition for specialized companies. And, he added that there is now more pressure on Salesforce.com to tightly integrate its existing marketing-related acquisitions and potentially add more.

responsys

Note: This story was updated at 11:00 a.m. PST with Sanford Bernstein comment.

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  1. In 2QFY14 oracle beat posted low profit but still managed to beat consensus estimates. It means things are looking up for the company

    http://bit.ly/1eqFuT7

  2. The big question is, “how much longer will SAP and MSFT sit on the sidelines, with respect to marketing automation?” Aside from MSFT’s MarketingPilot acquisition, they’ve both been curiously quiet.

    1. I was sort of wondering the same thing re. microsoft. Hasn’t SAP made some buys here?

  3. I’m expecting someone to be talking about Marketo soon. Oracle’s bid is a clear indicator of one thing for sure – their cash inflow is finally picking up. This is the fourth billion-dollar acquisition they’ve made in recent months. It’s also sending a loud and clear message to Salesforce. Like you pointed out, this company is now becoming a behemoth that is going to be hard to steer. This leaves Silverpop still in the market, I expect SAP to make a similar move soon. With a full cloud marketing in place, Oracle is going to be, again, running against giant players. This move also emphasizes the importance of a marketing automation platform for sales. We’ve seen the numerous benefits products like Agile CRM have for small businesses, this is the equivalent for larger ones. Provided it’s executed effectively.

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