NetSuite is acquiring Bronto Software for approximately $200 million in cash and equity, the two companies announced today. The deal is expected to close in Q2 2015. This acquisition continues NetSuite’s focus on delivering a complete and consistent omnichannel experience for its 3,000+ customer base of retail brands using the SuiteCommerce solution. In the past three years, NetSuite also has purchased Retail Anywhere, Venda, and TribeHR.
Bronto currently has more than 1,400 brands using its commerce marketing automation platform, including Armani Exchange, Timex and Gander Mountain. Bronto and NetSuite also share a number of retail customers, including Precision Cycling and Cyberswim.
“This should play out to be both a logical and smart move for NetSuite,” noted Miya Knights, Senior Research Analyst at IDC Retail Insights, in an exclusive interview with Retail TouchPoints. “With personalization and customer-centricity driving so much development and investment around retail IT systems that support consistent and integrated digital and physical shopping experiences, Bronto’s marketing automation capabilities will help provide NetSuite with a key component in filling out a complete cloud B2C business software portfolio around SuiteCommerce, founded on its core CRM, ERP and financials platform.”
Acquisition talks started “at the end of last year,” explained Andy Lloyd, GM of Commerce Products for NetSuite. “We needed to make sure the Bronto management team was on board with this, and was able to be successful going forward inside of NetSuite.”
Bronto will remain intact as an independently operated company when the acquisition is final, noted Joe Colopy, CEO of Bronto. In an email to its “Bronto Nation” of customers, Colopy explained: “Bronto will operate as an independent business unit of NetSuite. It will continue to innovate on its platform” and “integrate with other e-Commerce platforms…Bronto’s leadership team will continue to guide the Bronto business.”
Before agreeing to the acquisition, Colopy said that his team wanted to insure that both companies had the same vision: “We are a very people-driven company with a vision around commerce marketing,” Colopy told Retail TouchPoints. “It’s more than just bits and bites.” The combined company needed to be “about people and thought leadership as well.”
Helping Retail Organizations Collaborate More Effectively
With the combined offerings, NetSuite and Bronto will be aligned to help bring CFOs, CIOs and CMOs together within retail organizations to deliver “more relevant and personalized marketing strategies than ever before,” Lloyd noted. “We believe our combined solution will allow them to collaborate much better than they have in the past.”
“This is a lightning rod issue for many retailers,” Colopy added. “They have a lot of problems because of the way they are organized.” Online and offline operations often function in silos and do not share information. “We haven’t had the CFO, CIO and CMO hanging out at the same parties. Now we are putting together the right party: A seamless experience connected to what the store actually has.”
“As an example,” Lloyd continued, “you think about combining in-store inventory management with email marketing. The customer will be getting an email aligned with their previous transaction history; and the retailer will be able to ensure the product they are marketing is in stock.”
IDC’s Knights summed it up: “Knowing your customer wherever they engage is one thing, but communicating with them in a compelling and targeted way requires an analytics and execution engine that NetSuite lacked. With the acquisition of another cloud-based best-of-breed software, it can now begin to build out the holistic customer engagement capabilities that retailers seeking an end-to-end, single commerce platform are looking to an increasingly competitive market to provide.”