Peter Kafka

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Salesforce Set to Snap Up Facebook Friend Buddy Media for More Than $800 Million

Enterprise, meet social: Cloud-computing pioneer Salesforce.com is close to a deal to acquire Buddy Media, the five-year-old company that helps brands manage their Facebook presence.

Sources say the two companies have agreed to terms that will value Buddy Media at more than $800 million, but that the transaction hasn’t closed yet. People familiar with the deal say Buddy Media chose Salesforce’s offer over a competitive bid from Google.

Both Buddy Media and Salesforce.com reps declined to comment.

Buddy Media is best known for helping big brands navigate Facebook, but it has recently made a point of expanding beyond the social network to other social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Its pitch to big companies: We can help you maintain your apps, ads and pages on the world’s biggest social network, and we can get your content in front of customers on lots of different social networks, too.

Many observers had assumed that Facebook, or a big ad holding company like WPP, would end up acquiring Buddy Media — especially since WPP is already an investor in the company, and recently announced a deal to route all of its Facebook ad buying through the company.

Instead, it appears that Salesforce intends to use Buddy Media to extend its core customer relationship management offering. The presumable logic: Acquiring Buddy Media will help Salesforce’s clients reach their customers and leads where they are spending lots of online time. Last year, Salesforce bought Radian6, another social media platform company, for $326 million.

Salesforce.com isn’t the only big enterprise software company chasing social media: Last week, Oracle announced that it had bought Vitrue, which specializes in social media marketing. People familiar with that transaction say Salesforce.com had also bid on Vitrue, which Oracle ended up buying for more than $300 million.

Buddy has raised a reported $90 million. Investors valued it at $500 million during its most recent funding round in August 2011.


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