Friday, April 27, 2012

(BN) Intuit to Buy Closely Held E-mail Marketer Demandforce for $423.5 Million

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Intuit to Acquire Demandforce for $423.5 Million

April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Intuit Inc., a provider of tax and finance software, agreed to buy Demandforce, a closely held e- mail marketing company, for $423.5 million in cash in its biggest acquisition in six years.

The deal, projected to close in May, would add one to two percentage points to Intuit's revenue growth next year and will be neutral or "modestly" reduce earnings this and next fiscal year, Mountain View, California-based Intuit said today in a statement. San Francisco-based Demandforce generated sales of $37.5 million last year, Patrick Barry, the company's chief marketing officer, said today in an e-mail.

Intuit Chief Executive Officer Brad Smith has been using deals to expand into new areas such as mobile payments and health care. The maker of tax preparation, small-business accounting and personal-finance software -- including Quicken and TurboTax -- this month acquired mobile-phone shopping company AisleBuyer LLC for an undisclosed amount.

Demandforce's product lets small businesses such as dental offices, auto repair shops and spas manage communication with customers and schedule appointments. The software also lets businesses talk with customers through Facebook and Twitter.

Demandforce's monthly subscription prices of $200 to $300 are "well above" Intuit's average selling price per small business customer, Peter Goldmacher, an analyst at Cowen & Co. in San Francisco, said in a research note to clients.

'Driver of Growth'

"The next decade of growth in software will come from small businesses who can now buy enterprise-class software at very compelling prices," said Goldmacher, who rates Intuit shares outperform, the equivalent of a buy. "Successful cross selling for Intuit is a material driver of growth and margins."

This is Intuit's second-largest transaction in at least 19 years and the biggest since 2006, according to Bloomberg data.

Intuit rose less than 1 percent to $57.98 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 10 percent this year.

Intuit is scheduled to report results on May 18 for its fiscal third quarter, the company's largest in sales and profit because it includes TurboTax sales ahead of the government's April filing deadline. Revenue will be "at or slightly below the low end" of its previous forecast, Intuit said April 20.

Yesterday, Intuit said Jeff Weiner, the CEO of online social networking company LinkedIn Corp., had joined its board.

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Ricadela in San Francisco at Douglas Macmillan in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at

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