Software firm Eloqua to be acquired by Oracle

December 23, 2012

Vienna-based Eloqua has agreed to be acquired by Oracle, the computer systems giant, in a deal worth $871 million, the companies announced last week.

Eloqua sells software that helps companies identify the visitors to their Web site who are most likely to purchase products or services. Its local customers include Blackboard, Cvent and the Washington Capitals.

The firm went public this summer, collecting $92 million in the process. Eloqua’s board of directors has already approved the buyout, but it must receive the support of shareholders and regulators. Executives expect it to close during the first half of next year.

The $871 million sum, net of Eloqua’s cash, reflects a per-share price of $23.50. The company’s stock closed Wednesday at $17.92.

Once combined, the firms plan to create a Customer Experience Cloud that allows businesses to offer their customers a personalized Web experience that helps build brand loyalty and generate sales leads, the companies said in a news release.

Eloqua’s executives and employees will remain with the company, according to its Web site. They also expect more rapid investment in the company’s product offerings as “Oracle plans to make Eloqua the centerpiece of Oracle’s Marketing Cloud.”

“Together with Oracle, we expect to accelerate the pace of the modern marketing revolution and help our customers transform the way they market, sell, support and serve their customers,” Joe Payne, Eloqua’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Executives declined to comment on the announcement and directed reporters to a series of documents published on the firm’s Web site.

Eloqua, which was founded in 1999, counts 400 employees worldwide, including about 80 at its headquarters.

Affluent Appfluent

Rockville-based Appfluent, a maker of data management software, raised $4.4 million from Novak Biddle Venture Partners last week as interest in big data continues to build among investors and entrepreneurs alike.

Large organizations are generating more data than ever before thanks to the proliferation of Internet-connected devices and faster computing capabilities. As a result, that data can become difficult to store, manage and analyze.

Still, some firms have found ways to improve their existing business — or create entire new lines of business — just from crunching the data they produce in new and promising ways.

“Analytics are really driving profitability so that’s leading to a big expansion of data analytics within big organizations,” said Appfluent chief executive and co-founder Frank Gelbart.

The company has raised $12.7 million since its inception in late 2004. Gelbart said in that time the big data market has grown up.

“We were very early to market. Now the market is coming to us. Big data and large data volumes are a reality,” he said.

“Data is doubling every two years and companies can’t just continue to throw hardware at the problem,” Gelbart continued. “Their IT resources are strained. Their budget is strained.”

Appfluent has 20 employees in Rockville. Its local customers include Freddie Mac, Coventry Health Care and several government agencies, he said.

Bits and bytes

Potomac-based SevaCall debuted in Boston last week as the company, which connects customers-in-need with nearby service providers, such as plumbers or florists, continues its rapid expansion.

The young firm has moved into eight cities in the past five months, including the District, Baltimore, Norfolk, Richmond, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, as well as Erie and Allentown, Pa.

HomeSnap , a smartphone app that allows prospective homebuyers to find information about a house for sale and its surrounding neighborhood, can now be found on the iPad.

The app was developed by District-based Sawbuck Realty and has been downloaded more than 300,000 times since March, the company said. It is now adding new features, including ways for real estate agents to connect with clients.

Gaithersburg-based OpGen will partner with the University of California, Davis on a project that aims to document the genetic make-up of at least 100,000 infectious organisms.

The 100K Genome Project was initiated in March by the Food and Drug Administration, UC Davis and Santa Clara, Calif.-based Agilent Technologies. The goal is to create a database that will allow scientists to diagnose food-borne illnesses more quickly.

The project will use OpGen’s technology to create high-resolution microbial genetic maps, which will show the sequence of an infectious organism’s genes.

The Maryland Innovation Initiative made its first three awards last week, doling out nearly $300,000 to companies and academics in an effort to convert university research into commercial products.

The three awards were given to Baltimore-based BOSS Medical, a Johns Hopkins University start-up company, and two Johns Hopkins University faculty members.

The fund is administered by the Maryland Technology Development Corp. in Columbia.

overlys@washpost.com

Steven Overly covers the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital in the Washington region for The Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication. In that capacity, he has written about start-up struggles, investment trends and major drug discoveries.
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