Contact: Ben Kolada
Oracle scratched a lingering itch recently, as it announced that it is acquiring knowledge management and customer service automation vendor InQuira for an undisclosed amount. The announcement comes nearly three years to the day after Oracle was stinted by salesforce.com in its attempt to scoop up InQuira rival InStranet. And although terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, we suspect that the database giant paid up for its expansion in this sector.
As usual, Oracle hasn’t disclosed terms of the transaction. Nearly all precedent deals in this sector have fallen in the range of $30-50m. However, InQuira could have broken this benchmark since the company was growing and was more mature than its acquired rivals. InQuira has expanded from about 135 employees serving 50 customers when we last covered the firm in 2008 to more than 85 customers today, with a headcount surpassing 200. Assuming its average deal size has remained somewhat constant, we would roughly place the company’s trailing revenue in the ballpark of $55-65m. Based on precedent valuations (comparable transactions have been valued at 1.3-1.8 times trailing sales) and our loose estimates of the company’s revenue, Oracle could have paid about $100m for InQuira. In comparison, salesforce.com forked over just $32m for InStranet in 2008.
Privately held InQuira offers integrated applications for Web self-service, knowledge management and agent-assisted support by bringing together intelligent retrieval, content management, collaboration and analytics. The acquisition, which is expect to close in the fall, will become the core of Oracle’s Fusion CRM product line.