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Oracle Bites On BlueKai in #Martech M&A Feast

omar tawakol.jpg

Oracle Corp. appears to have an insatiable need for acquisitions, with a focus on anything involving marketing technology (now known in the Twittersphere as "#martech"). Its latest deal is BlueKai, an acquisition announced this morning. Although terms of the deal were not released, it is estimated in the $350 million to $400 million range.

The buy will help Oracle to personalize marketing programs and the customer experience. Omar Tawakol, CEO, BlueKai, said his company's products "convert fragmented and disparate marketing data into high-performance results for companies.”

BlueKai claims to maintain a database of 700 million consumer profiles and has more than 300 customers across multiple industries. The company boasts that its Data Management Platform (DMP) keeps the customer and audience data in the cloud to target marketing campaigns and deliver better results. 

In short, BlueKai is one of the largest providers of data that help provide those super-targeted ads you see in your browser that might seem a little creepy because they happen to coincide with what you've been searching for lately.

Small Change for Oracle

Even though $400 million is chump change for Oracle, which has shelled out multiple billions for other marketing technology leaders such as Eloqua, Reponsys and RightNow, BlueKai is an important deal because it is considered a leader in the field of aggregating consumer marketing data. 

It's another example of data driving the automation of everything, a trend covered by CMSWire.com here and here. Oracle, like competitors such as IBM and Salesforce.com, is piecing together a wide variety of tools to make its marketing automation tools more data-savvy.

"There's a lot of marketing automation technology out there and a lot of competitors, Oracle is trying to stay on top of it," said Steve Koenig, a senior analyst with Wedbush Securities, in an interview with CMSWire. "It has a strategic initiative in marketing automation, including Eloqua and Responsys. This fits more into the B2C (Business to consumer) are but it gives Oracle acces to data that's valuable to agencies and clients … for targeting campaigns."

Oracle's Martech M&A March

Here's a rundown of some of Oracle's bigger martech deals of late:

BlueKai, Feb. 24Deal value estimated at $350M-$400M

Responsys, Dec. 20, 2013: Cloud-based B2C marketing software, valued at $1.5 billion.

BigMachines, Oct. 23, 2013: Cloud-based salesforce automation software, size unknown.

Compendium,Oct. 17, 2013Cloud-based marketing provider, size of deal unknown.

Eloqua, Dec. 20, 2012: Marketing automation platform, $810 million.

DataRaker, Dec. 13, 2012Cloud-based business intelligence and analytics, size of deal unknown.

RightNow Technologies, Oct. 24, 2011Cloud-based CRM and customer experience software, $1.5 billion.

Oracle intends to integrate BlueKai with Responsys for B2C marketing automation and Eloqua for B2B marketing automation to deliver "orchestrated and personalized customer interactions" across marketing activities.

As of January,  BlueKai was estimated to have about 150 employees and $64 million in revenue, according to Forbes, which put it on its list of "Most Promising Companies."  It raised more than $30 million in venture funding from leading investors including Granite Global Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Battery Ventures.

Omar Tawakol, CEO and Founder of BlueKai, will join the Oracle team. I interviewed Tawakol a few years ago after landing a big round of financing. At the time, he said something that I found very interesting, which is that data drives the creation of most value in marketing.

"The data is actually more valuable than the ad itself," said Tawakol. 

Clearly, he was on to something. BlueKai succeeded in creating a lot of value by building one of the largest consumer databases in the world.

Little Near-Term Financial Impact

Wall St. analysts aren't likely to see a near-term impact on Oracle's financials from this deal, as it's relatively small. It's more about building Oracle's marketing automation suite for the future. 

"It's not going to move the needle on Oracle's earnings," said Koenig. "It's more about replacing the customers in the Siebel CRM [platform.] 

Koenig says this is a priority for Oracle, because some former Siebel customers (Oracle bought Siebel in 2005) have been moving to Salesforce.com, one of Oracle's biggest competitors in the marketing automation space. 

About the Author

R. Scott Raynovich is an independent author, technology analyst and media consultant. He publishes a blog, The Rayno Report.

 
 
 
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