M & A Frenzy For Cloud Companies

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As technology companies are opening up their checkbooks to make acquisitions and gain innovation, it appears there’s a bit of spending spree going on.

Yesterday, IBM boosted its SmartCloud strategy with the acquisition of the world’s largest privately-held cloud infrastructure provider, SoftLayer, at a price tag of an estimated $2 billion. Meanwhile, Salesforce.com made a move to dominate the marketing arena with a $2.5 billion acquisition of ExactTarget, an email marketing platform, and Intel pumped $100 million to bring human-like sensing technology to devices. On the flip side, online gaming company Zynga announced substantial cost reductions, as it essentially shuts down OMGPOP one year after acquiring it for $200 million.

Salesforce.com acquires ExactTarget for $2.5 Billion

Salesforce.com (CRM) continues to dominate the Chief Marketing Executive office, with an announcement that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ExactTarget in a transaction valued at approximately $2.5 billion. By combining ExactTarget’s leading digital marketing capabilities with Salesforce.com’s leading sales, service and social marketing solutions, Salesforce.com will create a world-class marketing platform across email, social, mobile and the Web. ExactTarget is a comprehensive marketing automation solution, and lists many of the world’s largest consumer brands among its more than 6,000 customers.

“ExactTarget’s mission is to revolutionize how businesses connect with their consumers using data-driven digital marketing across all channels,” said Scott Dorsey, ExactTarget chairman, chief executive officer and co-founder. “Salesforce.com’s tremendous strength in social marketing, along with its leadership position in sales and service, not only will accelerate this vision, but also provide our customers with a powerful, integrated CRM platform to transform their end-to-end customer experience.”

Intel invests $100 million towards sensing technology

Intel Capital, Intel’s Global Investment and M&A Organization, announced a $100-million investment fund to accelerate the development of software and applications that bring human-like sensing technology to life across the spectrum of Intel architecture platforms. Intel’s (INTC) vision is to  integrate human-like sensing technology into devices, ultimately delivering more natural, intuitive and immersive computing experiences.  Intel has already launched the Perceptual Computing Challenge, an early kick-off contest for developers to create innovative applications using the SDK with up to $1 million in awards.

“Devices with human-like senses – the ability to see, hear and feel much like people do – has long been a subject of science fiction but is now within reach given recent innovations in compute power and camera technology,” said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president. “This new fund will invest in start-ups and companies enabling these experiences, helping them with the business development support, global business network and technology expertise needed to scale for worldwide use.”

Yahoo! gobbles up Tumblr, Wants Hulu Next?

After spending $1.1 billion on acquiring blogging platform Tumblr, Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer is said to have an interest in online video web site Hulu. Bloomberg reports that at least seven bidders are interested in acquiring Hulu, with 3 bidders offering over $1 billion. Yahoo may receive $800 million from China’s largest  e-commerce company Alibaba Group in a stock buy-back program, as it is currently seeking $8 billion in loans.

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