Two marketing and CRM (customer relationship management) businesses that have grown rapidly in different ways came together this week when Zeta Interactive completed its acquisition of the CRM division of eBay Enterprise. The deal was valued at $80 million to $90 million, according to reports.
Zeta Interactive, founded in 2007 by former InPhonic CEO David Steinberg [pictured] and former Pepsi-Cola executive and former Apple CEO John Sculley, is a big data and analytics company that helps businesses build their customer bases. Headquartered in New York City, it recently closed on $125 million in new financing, making it a so-called "unicorn," privately held company worth at least $1 billion, according to Forbes.
The acquisition by Zeta is part of eBay's divestiture of its entire eBay Enterprise unit, which was announced in July and completed Monday. A consortium of private equity investors led by Permira Funds and Sterling Partners paid $925 million for the operation. The buyers also plan to combine most of eBay Enterprise with the e-commerce operations of Innotrac and spin off the Magento software line as an independent company.
New Cross-Channel/Cross-Device Capabilities
Steinberg, who is also Zeta Interactive's CEO, said combining his company with eBay Enterprise's CRM business is a "game changer" in the marketplace. "Together, we have an unmatched set of assets and capabilities to help leading brands improve their return on marketing spend across the entire customer journey, both cross-channel and cross-device," Steinberg said.
Regina Gray, head of eBay Enterprise's CRM division, who will become a senior vice president at Zeta Interactive, added, "I look forward to working closely with the Zeta team and speaking with our clients and partners about the benefits of the combined platform that will take our capabilities to a new level."
eBay Enterprise began in 1995 with the founding of a sporting goods and supplies retailer called Global Sports Incorporated. Renamed as GSI Commerce in 2002, the company was acquired by eBay in 2011 and rebranded as eBay Enterprise in 2013.
Focus on 'Precision Marketing'
Zeta Interactive was included in Gartner's annual "Magic Quadrant" for multi-channel campaign management in both 2014 and 2015. The company was also named one of Forbes' "50 Most Promising Companies in America."
The company's Web site identifies a number of large global brands as its customers, including Chase, British Airways, Ford, IKEA, PayPal, Sports Authority and Sprint. Its Zeta CRM services include database management, multi-channel orchestration and a range of other data-driven marketing services.
A 2014 whitepaper sponsored by Zeta Interactive and prepared with the help of The Relevancy Group described the company's approach to "precision marketing."
"Precision Marketing has five distinct steps: Integrate, Organize, Enrich, Automate and Measure," according to the white paper. "[M]arketers that implement at least three of the five of the Precision Marketing techniques deliver 5 to 6 times the revenue and profit compared to those who do not."