Zeta Interactive Buys eBay Enterprise’s Customer Marketing Division
Co-founded by ex-Apple CEO John Sculley, Zeta is fueling its growth as a data-driven marketing platform with $125 million raised last summer.
This purchase, fueled by a $125 million investment round in July, is part of Zeta’s effort to boost its customer marketing capabilities. Founded in 2007, Zeta provides what COO Steve Gerber described to me as “managing customer data on behalf of big brands.” It segments brands’ customer information for email and other kinds of marketing to acquire and retain customers.
Deal terms were not made public.
eBay Enterprise has focused on implementing and managing online stores for physical retailers, as well as providing related customer management and marketing services.
It is based largely on services and technology from GSI Commerce, which eBay bought in 2011 for $2.4 billion, plus other acquisitions made over the last few years. At the time of the GSI acquisition, eBay management indicated the purchase was positioning the company to better compete with Amazon as an ecommerce technology platform.
eBay, having recently spun off its PayPal division, has been similarly divesting itself of eBay Enterprise. In July, a consortium of private equity firms led by Sterling Capital and Permira paid $925 million for the eBay Enterprise components not acquired by Zeta. These included the affiliate network formerly known as PepperJam and the popular Magento e-commerce platform.
The customer relationship marketing division includes an enterprise-focused email service provider that is based on GSI-owned eDialog, a database management product and an automated attribution solution formerly called ClearSaleing.
The current locations of the Zeta-acquired business units will remain where they are — the main offices in Burlington, Massachusetts, the database management in Melville, Long Island, and the attribution service in Columbus, Ohio. Regina Grey, head of the eBay Enterprise customer relationship marketing division, will become a senior vice president at Zeta.
“World Class Clients”
Gerber said that part of the “rationale for the deal [was that] eBay had not invested in next generation technology, [while] Zeta has.” He noted that Zeta bought the marketing automation platform ClickSquared last year, and merged it with its enterprise-grade email service provider to create a Customer Lifecyle Marketing Platform called Zeta Hub.
In acquiring these parts of eBay Enterprise, he added, Zeta is getting “some world class clients like American Airlines, Major League Baseball, and Kellogg’s,” integration with additional data sources and “a database management capability that is more robust than ours.”
Elements of eBay Enterprise’s technology will be integrated into the Zeta platform, and eBay Enterprise will cease to exist as a brand.
While saying that he “can’t speculate” on eBay management’s reasons for the sale, Gerber noted that “the business is worth more to us than to eBay [because] it expands what we’re doing – acquiring new customers, keeping them, and growing their value.”
In addition to marketing data providers like Experian and Acxiom, Gerber said the company sees its competitors as the big three marketing cloud platforms — Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce — even though Zeta doesn’t offer their entire range of capabilities, such as web personalization.
His company’s primary service is maintaining customer information and providing marketing services, he said, with a key differentiator from the large marketing clouds being Zeta’s growing managed services to help brands cope with marketing technology that “is increasingly complex.”