Salesforce to buy Demandware for $3.9 billion

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Salesforce to buy Demandware for $3.9 billion

Commences e-commerce push.

Salesforce says it will buy Demandware, whose software is used by businesses to run e-commerce websites, for about US$2.8 billion (A$3.9 billion).

The deal will help Salesforce open a new front as it looks to take away more market share from traditional software providers such as Oracle and SAP, both of whom already offer cloud-based e-commerce services.

The e-commerce market has been growing at a blistering pace as retailers expand their online presence, boosting demand for software that helps manage functions such as payment processing and inventory management.

Salesforce's cash offer of US$75.00 per share represents a 56.3 percent premium to Demandware's Tuesday closing.

The lofty premium indicates that there were most likely multiple bidders at the table for Demandware, Stifel Nicolaus & Co analyst Thomas Roderick said, naming Adobe and Oracle as the other possible contenders.

"We're not winning every deal, this is just the deal that we were actually able to get done," Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff told CNBC in an interview.

Demandware's shares, which have fallen about 21 percent in the past year, were up 56.12 percent at US$74.92 in trading on Wednesday. Shares of Salesforce, considered a barometer for the cloud-computing  industry, were down slightly.

Demandware, whose customers include Lands' End, L'Oreal and Marks and Spencer, has reported sales growth of more than 30 percent for the last 10 quarters.

"I think Salesforce has effectively already won the CRM war - they need to stay out front in terms of innovation  and they do need to have the broadest, deepest portfolio... this was a blind spot for them," Wedbush Securities analyst Steve Koenig said.

Global spending on digital commerce platforms is expected to grow over 14 percent annually to about US$8.5 billion by 2020, Salesforce said, citing research firm Gartner.

The deal, slated to close in Salesforce's second quarter ending July, is expected to increase the company's 2017 revenue by about US$100 million to US$120 million.

Salesforce had forecast fiscal 2017 revenue of US$8.16 billion to US$8.20 billion in May.

However, Salesforce said it now expected an adjusted profit of US93 cents to US95 cents per share for the full year, down from its previous forecast of US$1 to US$1.02.

BofA Merrill Lynch is Salesforce's financial adviser for the deal, while Goldman Sachs is advising Demandware.

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