Oracle Expands CRM Portfolio With RightNow Technologies Acquisition

Oracle's acquisition campaign continued unabated with the Oct. 24 announcement that it is buying RightNow Technologies, a producer of cloud CRM and customer support applications, for $1.5 billion.

For Oracle, it's a new week and time for another corporate acquisition. This week, it's RightNow Technologies, which markets cloud customer service and support applications.

Oracle agreed to pay $1.5 billion for RightNow's stock at about $43 a share, which is about 20 percent more than the company's closing price on Oct. 21. Oracle says it expects to complete the acquisition by late 2011 or early 2012.

RightNow is a cloud customer relationship management provider with an emphasis on multichannel customer service and support. It has been a major competitor of Salesforce.com and Oracle's own existing CRM offerings. The RightNow deal is a follow-on to Oracle's buyout last week of Endeca, a producer of software that helps enterprises manage unstructured data. Oracle didn't disclose the financial terms of that deal.

Oracle likely acquired RightNow mainly because of its multichannel customer support capabilities that work across call centers, social networks and Web self-service applications, Denis Pombriant, principal analyst with Beagle Research, which specializes in CRM market analysis, told eWEEK.

The RightNow buyout complement s Oracle's early 2011 acquisition of ATG, a producer of cross-channel CRM, e-commerce and retail applications. The acquisition of RightNow, along with ATG, combined with the existing Oracle CRM and Siebel on Demand applications, gives Oracle "critical mass in the cloud" for its CRM products, Pombriant said. RightNow should "gel well" with Oracle's other CRM properties, he said.

The acquisition, Pombriant said, also allows Oracle to further strengthen its CRM offerings in the face of increasing competition with Salesforce.com, which is holding firm to its position as the most successful pure-play on-demand CRM platform on the Web. This latest Oracle acquisition may be a sign that it s "playing a bit of catch up" with Salesforce in the software as a service (SaaS) space.

He also noted that the Oracle deal comes soon after Salesforce.com announced the acquisition of Assistly, which also provides an online customer self-service application.

This article was originally published on 10-25-2011
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