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Vista Equity Partners, not SAP or Microsoft, to acquire Marketo

Tom Paine

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Private Equity firm Vista Equity Partners has reached an agreement to acquire marketing automation firm Marketo for $1.8 billion in cash.

The deal strikes me as being somewhat unusual as Marketo was still in a growth stage typically less amenable to PE financing, and it had considerable percieved value to strategic buyers. In fact, SAP and Microsoft were widely thought to be the two most likely acquirers. Some knowledgable people I follow had already assumed that SAP would be the buyer.

The aquuisition price of $35.25 represents a 64% premium over Marketo's share price on May 9, when the most recent reports that Marketo was being shopped surfaced.

The San Mateo, CA-based company, which went public in 2013, posted revenue of $210 million and a net loss of $71.5 million in 2015. Revenue grew from $150 million in 2014 and $96 million in 2013.

SAP acquired marketing systems vendor Hybris in 2013, and in fact has been trying to position it as a CRM alternative.

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