Poor ExactTarget results may extend salesforce.com’s M&A holiday

Contact: Scott Denne

Two quarters in, salesforce.com’s ExactTarget acquisition is already losing some steam. The email marketing company continues to grow, though far from the pace it had as an independent business. On salesforce.com’s earnings call Thursday night, the CRM vendor announced that ExactTarget contributed $96m in revenue, up roughly 14% from the last quarter of 2012 (‘roughly’ because salesforce.com and ExactTarget’s fiscal quarters are misaligned by a month).

In its last two independent quarters, ExactTarget averaged 40.5% year-over-year growth. In its first two quarters as a salesforce.com subsidiary, it averaged revenue growth of just 12.5%. Even salesforce.com itself, with $1.15bn in revenue last quarter, gained 25%, after backing out ExactTarget’s contribution, and 26% the previous quarter.

On a call last year announcing the acquisition, salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff said the company would take a 12- to 18-month M&A vacation to focus on ExactTarget. For the most part, it’s lived up to that promise. It announced a $133.7m deal for EdgeSpring a few days after the ExactTarget announcement but has been mostly quiet since then – salesforce.com spent just $2.5m on acquisitions last quarter. Since integrating ExactTarget hasn’t been a day at the beach, salesforce.com’s M&A holiday may not end early.

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