Heading toward an ‘Eloqua-ent’ IPO

Contact: Brenon Daly

A little more than a month after the strong IPO by a rival on-demand marketing vendor, Eloqua has taken its first significant step toward an offering of its own, according to market sources. We understand that the company has tapped J.P. Morgan Securities and Deutsche Bank Securities to lead the IPO, with a filing expected in a few weeks. Co-managers will be Pacific Crest Securities, JMP Securities and Needham & Co.

Eloqua has been positioning itself for an offering for the past few years, taking steps such as moving its headquarters from Canada to the Washington DC area, as well as hiring a raft of senior executives, most of whom have experience at public companies. Meanwhile, on the other side, Wall Street appears ready to buy off on marketing automation companies. At least the demand has been there for rival Responsys, which went public in late April and currently trades at a $750m valuation.

Responsys’ valuation works out to about 8 times 2010 sales and 6x 2011 sales at the on-demand company. Eloqua, which also sells its marketing automation software through a subscription model, is thought to be about half the size of Responsys. Assuming that Wall Street values the two rivals at a similar multiple, Eloqua could find itself valued at $350-400m when it hits the market later this year.