Salesforce gets a jump on Dreamforce with $700M Krux acquisition

Salesforce.com kicks off its big annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco Tuesday. If you are really, really into Salesforce, then Dreamforce has you covered.

You want some celebrities that certainly are showing up on their own dime? Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” judge Mark Cuban will be there. You can even find your ultimate edge and the power to break through with bazillionaire motivational speaker Tony Robbins, who will give a presentation Tuesday that is called, “The Power to Break Through: Your Ultimate Edge.”

And, of course, there will be an appearance by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. In addition to talking about how awesome Salesforce is, and maybe taking a couple of of shots at Oracle in the process, Benioff might even have a few words to say about something Salesforce did Monday to grease the wheels of attention for Dreamforce: The company’s $700 million acquisition of Krux Digital.

So, just what is Krux? Well, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Salesforce made about the deal, San Francisco-based Krux is “a leading data management platform that unifies, segments and activates audiences to increase engagement with users, prospects and customers.”

Got it? Well, in layman’s terms, it’s a┬ástartup that sells cloud-based software that marketing and media companies use to work better with their own customers.

The deal includes Salesforce paying $340 million in cash, and issuing between 3.4 million and 6 million shares of stock, to acquire Krux. Altogether, the deal is estimated to be worth around $700 million.

Cowen & Co. analyst Derrick Wood said that while the price tag may seem a little steep for a 6-year-old startup, Krux has “a strong technology and impressive customer list” that will help Salesforce close the gaps in its product portfolio that it has with Oracle and Adobe, in particular. Salesforce is expected to wrap Krux within its marketing cloud software platform.

In buying Krux, Salesforce is showing it has no plans to retreat from what has been an aggressive acquisition strategy meant to boost its profile in cloud-based marketing and customer relationship, and compete more against the likes of Oracle, Microsoft and SAP. Since the start of summer alone, Salesforce has acquired e-commerce platform developer Demandware for $2.6 billion, and productivity software company Quip for $750 million. Salesforce has also reportedly been considering making a bid for Twitter.

 

Photo: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff delivers a keynote address during the 2014 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

 

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