A Coremetrics sale to salesforce.com?

Contact: Brenon Daly

Could this be a case of history repeating itself? A Web analytics vendor pulls out at the last minute of a technology conference at a boutique bank, and then announces that it has agreed to a richly priced sale of the company. That’s the way it played out last fall with Omniture at ThinkEquity’s conference. And at least part of that has happened with Coremetrics this week at Pacific Crest Securities’ Emerging Technology Summit. (Coremetrics was slated to present at the event Thursday morning, but canceled its appearance, officially because the presenter was ill.)

Of course, there’s been a lot of M&A buzz around Coremetrics in recent weeks, with at least two sources indicating that the company had retained Goldman Sachs to represent it. As to who might be a buyer for the Web analytics shop, we come back to one name: salesforce.com. We understand that the CRM giant was acutely interested in Omniture and, according to some sources, was the cover bidder in that process. (Omniture, of course, ultimately sold to Adobe in a somewhat puzzling pairing.)

Coremetrics’ analytics would fit neatly with salesforce.com’s sales and marketing offering. Both are also SaaS companies. And, as we noted last month, the profitable company, which has about $1bn in cash available, has announced plans to raise another $500m in a convertible offering. Altogether, that’s plenty of cash to cover a potential purchase of Coremetrics, which would probably go for several hundred million dollars. And if the Coremetrics sale parallels the Omniture sale in that the analytics company goes to a somewhat unexpected buyer, we might put forward Autonomy Corp as a possibility, as my colleague Nick Patience did in a recent report. The acquisitive British vendor also recently announced plans to raise a slug of money.