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If Substack is the bad boy of email tech, Mailchimp is the proper date you bring home to mom.

The company is getting recognition lately for its reliable inbox work (you're reading some of it right now). Rumors first circulated in August that the software giant and proprietor of Turbotax was lighting up Mailchimp's inbox with a $10-billion acquisition offer. While no official decisions have been made, it has been confirmed that the acquisition offer is very real and very much on the table.

Taking Care of Business

Intuit has been building out its portfolio of small biz administrative services for years. In addition to Turbotax, the firm is behind accounting aid Quickbooks, tax service ProSeries, and personal finance site CreditKarma. As such, Intuit has managed to capitalize on businesses scrambling to get operations back on track post-pandemic. And based on the firm's shares, which are up 49% this year, many mom-and-pops are leaning heavily into electronic bookkeeping.

The addition of Mailchimp's digital marketing products would be a feather in Intuit's cap. The deal would be Intuit's largest-ever acquisition (topping the $7.1 billion the firm laid out to snatch up CreditKarma). But how did the Atlanta-based, aughts-era marketing automation company become such a hot ticket?

  • Mailchimp, which was founded in 2001, was one of the first companies to let businesses send automated emails to customers. The firm has since restyled itself as an "all-in-one marketing" brand, offering website domains, e-commerce stores, graphics, text blasts, social media, "shoppable" links, and customer service help.
  • Mailchimp also ranks as one the most successful bootstrapped tech companies of all time. The firm hasn't taken a single dollar of venture capital funding since its launch.

Golden goose: An Intuit-Mailchimp deal is still in the hypothetical phase. But something is on the horizon for Mailchimp, which has drawn interest from private equity firms and large tech companies and is reportedly also considering slicing off a minority stake.