Oracle’s acquisition of Eloqua, what does it mean for Eloqua and its customers?

With news breaking on the acquisition, CleverTouch’s MD, Adam Sharp shares his thoughts.

  1. The price $870m, is a good 40% uplift on their market cap of $617m.
  2. I am a little surprised it is so soon after the IPO, this is a great Christmas bonus for the staff as all their stock will now be fully vested.
  3. At last Marketing Automation (MA) will be embedded into an enterprise technology architecture and no longer just be another departmental point solution.  (Some of the MA capabilities are equally relevant in HR, Finance or Supply Chain Management).
  4. Whilst Oracle is not necessarily universally loved they are respected and formidable and they do understand software and it is another endorsement and validation of the MA marketspace.
  5. It means that Eloqua will compete even further up the chain in the Unica space as Oracle has huge global reach.
  6. It also means that vertical industry solutions for MA will be further accelerated.
  7. Oracle is also really well financed with a lot of bag carrying sales people and a marketing machine behind them so it does provide global clients a degree of reassurance as well as global coverage locally.
  8. It does mean that Marketo will be bought by Salesforce, IBM, Oracle, SAP or Microsoft in the next 12 months and before IPO, thereby saving a wedge load of cash.  (The cost of the Eloqua IPO was c.$20-30m)
  9. As with any change there is a risk that some Eloqua employees will leave, after the merger goes through, but this also means new companies will be formed and further innovations will be created on the back of this merger.
  10. It means Pardot went quite cheaply and Act-on and Marketo especially will already be counting the money too.

I am not sure who to congratulate the most; Oracle for the smart pre-emptive move or Eloqua for the $870m valuation; but it is exciting times in the Marketing Automation industry in 2013.

December 20th, 2012 by Adam Sharp

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Marketing automation

Comments (4)


  1. Adam,

    Smart move! (i.e. posting your thoughts that quickly…)
    Exciting and interesting times indeed.

    You forgot -in true spinal tap style- to add item #11; who will be buying SFDC?

  2. All valid points, for sure. My bets were on three players – SAP, Salesforce, or Oracle.

    I have mixed feelings about this event.

    Firstly, regardless of the uplift, Eloqua would have and should have cracked $1B pre-IPO. This is NOT a good valuation, in my opinion. I believe the IPO was an attempt at a forcing event to get suitors to buy before going public. It didn’t work. A post-IPO valuation is lower in this case. Oracle got a great deal. Compare this to the ridiculous acquisition of Instagram for $4B where there is zero revenue upside.

    Oracle is not known as a partner-friendly company. They have a huge professional services arm that drive a significant amount of revenue. It shall be interesting to see how the partnering culture evolves.

    Most of Eloqua’s customers are on Salesforce. How will this impact the technology integration roadmap? If Salesforce buys Marketo, this could really interesting.

    I am very excited to see how Eloqua uses the resources to their advantage with innovation and development. It’s all about focus and execution.

    I’ve lived through M&A deals and business integration is final determinant how this will succeed. I’m happy for my Eloqua friends and colleagues! As a partner here in the US, we are bullish on the future and hope Oracle/Eloqua continue to lead the way for Marketing Automation.

  3. Forest says:

    What makes you think Marketo is the play for SFDC? They have mostly B2B customers, and only a handful of them in comparison to some of their competitors. Why would SFDC essentially pay to buy its own customers? Wouldnt another company make more sense? One with both a B2B and B2C customer base?

  4. Anonymous Coward says:

    What was it that drove Eloqua to build a good product? Do these factors stand a chance to survive, after Eloqua being absorbed into Oracle’s cultural environment? I think these are questions worth answering, because they determine if whatever it is that makes Eloqua products/services valuable to customers will survive.

    I think that’s specifically worth answering since there’s a twist around point 4 in your list. Oracle does not employ any of the renowned IT personalities of the moment, and is a pretty closed company, so there’s not much known about its programming culture. However, the little information available suggests that Oracle employs well paid programmers which are eager to meet business targets, are quite good at copying features they find elsewhere or which are required by customers and deemed worth implementing by marketing and sales, but who seldomly come up with completely new ideas.

    That may be conducive to very good products, but definitely not to revolutionary products – which shows in Oracle’s product offering: they are a one trick pony – the database. I don’t mean to say there’s nothing more to Oracle, just that at Oracle everything revolves around the database.

    Also, most all other products Oracle acquired became less visible after the acquisition than before. SuSE was the only serious competitor of RedHat in the enterprise Linux space before being acquired by Oracle, and IBM’s WebSphere had a hard time competing with WebLogic before BEA being acquired by Oracle, but both SuSE and WebLogic are almost invisible atm. Merely mysql keeps its visibility, but mysql is open source, and the project was forked almost immediately after Oracle acquired the company. Another open source project acquired by Oracle (Hudson), besides being forked immediately, saw almost all of its ecosystem (developers and users alike) migrate to the fork, also almost immediately. Java’s acquisition by Oracle led to a huge scandal, culminating in the Google vs Oracle lawsuit and the Apache foundation retiring from the Java governance group.

    In particular, Oracle seems to be late and slow in adapting to cloud technologies. I don’t know enough about Eloqua to be able to assess what the cultural impact will be.

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