May 23, 2012 | Ingrid Lunden and Josh Constine
TechCrunch has discovered and confirmed that software giant Oracle has bought social marketing platform Vitrue for $300 million. [Update: A press release has confirmed the buy at an undisclosed price, though we know it to be $300 million.] As if Oracle didn’t offer enough products and services already, the acquisition will give it a strong Facebook marketing platform to offer its enterprise clients.
Vitrue had taken $33 million in funding over the years and grown to become one of the most popular solutions for big companies trying to win Facebook fans and push out marketing messages to the news feed. Vitrue, according to a source, was on course for revenues of just under $100 million this year, although we have other sources disputing it may have been that high. TC understands there were a lot of potential acquirers interested. Several bidders approached the company but Oracle was the most aggressive.
Oracle is no stranger to massive acquisitions. It bought talent management solution Taleo in February for $1.9 billion.
Beyond Facebook, Vitrue helps marketers manage their presences on Twitter, YouTube,Pinterest, Instagram, and other platforms. One of the hallmarks of Vitrue has been it’s ability to rapidly integrate with new partners like Klout to give it talking points for dissuading clients from going to competitors. Vitrue is “nearly profitable” and was projected to reach profitability in this fiscal year, said our source. TechCrunch understands that Reggie Bradford, the CEO, will “very much remain part of the equation” when Vitrue becomes part of Oracle. His exact title is to come.
The purchase continues the trend of large, old-world Internet marketing companies buying their way into social after being slow to adopt. Adobe bought social advertising provider Efficient Frontier for $400 million in November 2011, just a few months after Efficient Frontier had bought Facebook marketer and application developer Context Optional for a reported $50 million.
With time, social has proven too important to ignore. Rather than scrambling to build something and trying to pull brands away from established social marketers, Oracle will instantly gain a massive list of notable clients along with Vitrue. Oracle will also inherit Vitrue’s ongoing battle with competitors like Buddy Media, Wildfire, Involver, ThisMoment, and more for social marketing supremacy.
Update 2: I talked with Abhay Parasnis, Oracle’s SVP of Cloud Development, and Reggie Bradford, the CEO of Vitrue, to get the low-down on the deal in their own words. Parasnis said that it helps Oracle fulfil its “broad vision” in end-to-end cloud services, which includes not only marketing, but CRM and commerce services.
And although Vitrue is bringing in a respectable amount of social media enterprise business to Oracle that Oracle can upsell to other products (like CRM and social commerce) Bradford points out how it will potentially give Vitrue access to a much bigger customer base, since Oracle has 400,000 businesses already using its products.