ExactTarget Surges on Salesforce.com Buy

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Salesforce.com ( CRM), the largest maker of online customer-management software, is buying cloud marketing platform company ExactTarget ( ET) for $2.5 billion to further strengthen Salesforce's position in cloud marketing services.

ExactTarget was soaring 52.99% to $33.82 in premarket trading, while salesforce shares were falling 3.22% to $39.72.

Under the agreement, salesforce will buy all outstanding shares of ExactTarget for $33.75 a share in cash, which is about a 52% premium over ExactTarget's Monday closing price.

By combining ExactTarget's digital marketing capabilities with salesforce.com's sales, service and social marketing solutions, salesforce.com believes it will create a top marketing platform across email, social, mobile and the web.

"The chief marketing officer is expected to spend more on technology than the CIO by 2017," salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement. "The addition of ExactTarget makes Salesforce the starting place for every company and puts salesforce.com in the pole position to capture this opportunity."

Gartner Research data shows that marketing was the fastest growing customer relationship management category in 2012, growing at 21%, or more than four times the software industry forecast norm in 2012. This growth is expected to continue, with marketing being the largest growing CRM category through 2017.

Salesforce noted that the acquisition will increase fiscal 2014 revenue by $120 million to $125 million, but will reduce fiscal 2014 non-GAAP earnings per share by 16 cents. Second quarter earnings are expected to be negatively impacted by 5 cents per share. The company said the transaction would not materially impact second quarter revenue

Salesforce updated its fiscal 2014 full-year guidance in coordination with the acquisition. It now expects 2014 revenues to be between $3.955 billion and $4 billion, an increase of 30% to 31% year-over-year. Diluted non-GAAP earnings will be between 31 cents and 33 cents per share.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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