Marketo Inc., a provider of marketing automation technology, is going private.

The company said Tuesday it will be selling itself to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners Management LLC for about $1.79 billion in cash.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016. “After careful consideration and deliberation, our board of directors unanimously concluded that the sale of Marketo to Vista Equity Partners was in the best interest of Marketo and its shareholders,” chairman and CEO Phil Fernandez said in a statement.

Vista will pay Marketo stockholders $35.25 per share, representing a 9.5% premium to the company’s closing price on Friday. The private equity firm says it was attracted to Marketo for its diverse client base. Both business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies use Marketo technology to organize their email and mobile marketing.

At the close of Marketo’s first quarter ended March 31, total revenue was $62.2 million, up 35% from $46.0 million generated during the same time last year. The marketing software company had 4,615 customers, including the Berklee College of Music in Boston, the Cleveland Clinic and diesel engine component manufacturer ESCO Industries, Brian Kinion, chief financial officer, told investors during a Q1 conference call, according to a transcript of the call from Seeking Alpha.


Marketo declines to comment on the mix of B2B and B2C clients using its software. But, in a Q4 2015 earnings call, Fernandez told investors, “We continue to see new customer acquisition broadly and diversely balanced across B2B and B2C opportunities.”

“Marketo is the clear leader in the marketing automation space and has consistently delivered innovative mission critical products to its more than 4,600 customers,” said Brian Sheth, co-founder and president of Vista. “Given our proven track record and focus on investing in high-growth SaaS platforms, we are thrilled to partner with Phil and the broader Marketo team to help the company accelerate innovation, growth and excellence.”

Marketo will remain based in San Mateo, Calif. It went public in 2013.

The Marketo acquisition continues Vista’s push to invest in companies that provide technology under the software-as-a-service, or SaaS, model. SaaS makes Internet-hosted software available through web browser access, freeing users from having to run the software on their own infrastructure. Vista has also acquired identity-as-a-service security firm Ping Identity for undisclosed financial terms, and in April purchased for $1.65 billion internet-based event management software Cvent Inc. Identity-as-a-service is a technology that lets companies access through a web browser an Internet-hosted system for verifying the identities of customers, employees or business partners as they log into a website or corporate network. Vista has completed more than 215 technology-related transactions worth a total value of approximately $64 billion since its founding in 2000.

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