Cloud-based customer relationship management specialist Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) is reportedly ready to make its biggest acquisition in some time, purchasing sales and billing management software maker SteelBrick for $600 million. Salesforce was already an investor in SteelBrick through its venture division, Salesforce Ventures, having infused the firm with $48 million in October.
Does it matter?
Salesforce has been increasingly investing in the billing management side of the business, injecting $41 million into SteelBrick rival Apttus in September -- Apttus also helps businesses price complex deals.
Salesforce has broadened its horizons in recent years, evolving from solely a software provider into a platform company, more like Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), which itself bought competitor Big Machines in 2013 for $400 million. By buying SteelBrick, whose CEO was the founder of Big Machines, Salesforce is doubling down on its platform strategy. But where Apttus is focused primarily on large enterprises, SteelBrick caters to small and medium-sized companies.
There's good reason Salesforce and Oracle are hot on this path. According to the market research firm Gartner, cash-to-quote software such as that produced by SteelBrick will become a $41 billion a year industry by 2018, up from $31 billion today.
According to a report by The Information, Salesforce.com is willing to pay $600 million for SteelBrick, mostly in the form of stock, in a bid to bolster what is the customer relation management firm's biggest existing business. It says it doesn't comment on rumor and speculation, but if this proves true it will help Salesforce.com solidify end-to-end sales management solutions.