It’s been a few weeks since the announcement of the Marketo acquisition by Vista Equity Partners. Since then, we’ve learned Salesforce is acquiring Demandware. Customers, investors and members of the marketing automation ecosystem are waiting to see what happens next and, inevitably, speculating on what this means for the B2B marketing world.
The Market Values the Marketing Stack
Primarily, in my opinion, the acquisitions reiterate both the strong valuations and business potential for good marketing software plays. The marketing stack is continually evolving. There will always be growth and change, and the opportunities they create.
For Marketo, the acquisition reflects that the underlying value of the platform had been discounted by the market, given the 60%-plus premium Vista paid over the price even a month ago. In early May, Marketo shares were trading at around $21. Shareholders will get $35.25 per share in the deal.
I’ve never discounted the value of Marketo. Nor have our many mutual customers adopting Marketo, including demand-gen leaders like Microsoft and RingCentral.
Is Vista Building Their Own Marketing Stack?
This could spell a renaissance for the standalone marketing play growing into a full platform as marketing automation continues to grow and mature (which is how I would bet), as opposed to a tactical, financial play.
The strong message for Marketo customers is to invest in the platform, given Vista’s modus operandi. For example, Ping Identity CEO Andre Durand said their acquisition by Vista would allow Ping to build a “complete identity platform.” Announcements of other Vista acquisitions, such as Cvent and Solera, have been couched in terms of growth, expansion and bringing together companies with complementary technology.
It will be interesting to see if Vista is themselves looking to assemble a marketing stack in an integrated way, considering some of their other acquisitions, including Ping. There are many players looking to build a more comprehensive offering.
Marketo’s Future Remains Bright
Marketo has always been a great company – a standout (like HubSpot), exerting its independence in a market consolidating around platforms. Time will tell, of course, but I see no reason for this acquisition to change the long-term picture.
In the short term, Marketo has the potential to become a star that burns even more brightly.
Even if, most likely, it will burn more cost-efficiently.