Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) is buying marketing-software startup Krux in a cash-and-stock deal estimated at about $700 million, the latest acquisition in a strategy to expand its products against growing competition from bigger rivals.
The deal will include $340 million in cash as well as Salesforce shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Krux sells cloud-based software with data tools that help marketers, media companies and agencies reach and engage with customers.
Salesforce, which can use Krux to bolster its marketing services, is spending about $4 billion purchasing companies to compete against Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) and SAP SE. Salesforce has expressed interest in acquiring social-media company Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR), which is valued at about $17 billion, and lost a bid to Microsoft for LinkedIn Corp. in a $26.2 billion deal.
The purchase of San Francisco-based Krux is expected to close Jan. 31, subject to customary conditions, Salesforce said. Krux, founded in 2010, lists several high-profile customers, including ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG), Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K) and JetBlue Airways Corp. (Nasdaq: JBLU).
As part of the deal, Salesforce said it will issue 3.4 million to 6 million shares at a price that’s a weighted average of the close in the days before the purchase is completed. Using the Oct. 3 closing stock price of $70.52, the value would be more than $330 million at the midpoint of the issuance.