Oracle Buys Vitrue, Strengthens Social-Media Marketing Services

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Oracle has announced acquiring social media marketing firm Vitrue to bolster its own social relationship services for corporate clients. Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but tech blog TechCrunch has reported a purchase price of $300 million.

Vitrue manages more than 1.3 billion social interactions across more than 500 brands, with customers including McDonald’s, NBC, Yahoo and Ikea. Its platform allows brands to maintain a presence and run social marketing campaigns and activities on social properties such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.

Oracle said the acquisition would help it better provide organizations with a cloud-based set of tools to support social marketing, sales, commerce, data and analytics. 

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“The proliferation of social media and an increased demand by consumers to engage with brands across multiple social channels is driving chief marketing officers to look for an integrated social marketing platform,” stated Thomas Kurian, EVP, Oracle Development. He added that the combination of Vitrue’s social marketing system with Oracle’s sales and service products would provide that uniform platform.

The companies will continue to operate interdependently until the deal’s expected close this summer. An Oracle spokesperson declined to comment on the role of Vitrue CEO Reggie Bradford in the combined entity.

“This is a smart move by Oracle. Connecting with customers via social media is becoming very important; being able to use Vitrue as the way they can tap into Facebook and other socials sites as part of their services helps them be more competitive,” said Tim Bajarin, president of technology consulting firm Creative Strategies.

Indeed, the deal signals continuing consolidation in the social-media marketing space as bigger players like Oracle scoop up specialty firms to offer Fortune 500 clients instant expertise in social media strategy and operations. Vitrue competitor Context Optional was acquired late last year by Adobe, while social media monitoring firm Radian6 was snapped up last March by Salesforce.com for $326 million.

Other social media platforms like Buddy Media, which has received about $90 million in venture capital funding to date, loom as potential future targets. Stacey Bishop, a managing director at Scale Venture Partners and a Vitrue board member, said she also expects more consolidation among the new crop of social media service providers themselves.

“This has already happened with the email marketing solutions and the analytics solutions in the past five to 10 years,” she said.

Despite questions raised about the value of social media marketing by General Motors’ ad pullback from Facebook, overall spending in the channel is likely to grow. A study last year by Altimeter Group found that spending on social business programs averaged about $1 million, up from $406,000 the prior year.

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