Lithium Technologies today confirmed what everyone seemed to know already — and acknowledged it has bought Klout. Lithium is reportedly paying almost $200 million in cash and private stock for the social media ranking influencer — twice as much as speculated during the past month.
Speaking at a late-to-start press conference — Rob Tarkoff, president and CEO of the social customer service company, declined to confirm the value of the deal. However, he noted, "If Lithium is paying $200 million for Klout, then it is a very valuable company and I'm happy about that."
Tarkoff described the acquisition as a significant extension to its platform that will offer consumers and brands better ways to engage online. "We're adding the relationship piece into the CRM world," he said. "Together, we could be something incredibly disruptive to CRM."
Lithium is also adding Joe Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of Klout, to the leadership team. He will become general manager and senior vice president of Lithium's Klout business, Tarkoff said.
The Customer Connection
The deal, which Re/code first reported last month, brings together two San Francisco-based industry providers in social media experience in the enterprise. It combines a Forrester leader in social depth platforms with a platform whose algorithms measure social influence by analyzing content and seeing how popular one person's posts are when compared with others.
Fernandez and Tarkoff said a lot about the deal today, calling it exciting and disruptive and a bunch of other buzzwords. But everything was summarized by the hashtag users were required to enter to watch the webcast:
While the phrase failed to immediately trend on Twitter, it underscored Tarkoff's vision for the future. "This is less about Lithium acquiring a company and a technology and more about Lithium redefining who it is," he said.
Tarkoff said the new Lithium will capitalize on, yes, Klout's clout with consumers to "develop a relationship of trust between consumers and brands, and that is really what is so different about this opportunity."
"We will become the leading network for brands and consumers, which will be anchored by this concept of digital reputation — a reputation that I as a consumer can manage and I as a brand can use to better serve you or market to you."
Matters of Trust
Tarkoff said Lithium plans to be here, there and everywhere — "the largest network of trusted content and trusted people throughout the customer lifecycle."
Whether you are looking for a product you want to buy, trying to get better service, whether you want to share a great story for a brand that you experienced — Lithium gives you the ability to understand should I trust that person, what is his reputation, does he really know what he's talking about."
A lot of investors already seem to trust in Lithium. The company is expected to make its initial public offering later this year and announced last September that it had raised $50 million in “pre-IPO mezzanine financing” to develop its tech platform and expand its sales and marketing. It has to its credit customers like Barclays, eBay and Axiom Telecom.
Forrester hailed Lithium for its simplicity, ease of use and its professionals services. Social depth platforms are social communities that take advantage of user generated content, and help organizations connect with potential customers.
Forrester also liked Lithium's Tribal Knowledge crowdsourcing functionality and its SEO and analytics tools.