HootSuite today announced that it has acquired Seesmic, the maker of a competing tool for managing Twitter accounts.Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
But it’s not an acquire-hire deal, HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes told Business Insider. Seesmic founder and French startup pioneer Loic Le Meur won’t be joining HootSuite, though he’s staying on through the transition.
Holmes also wasn’t sure how many of Seesmic’s dozen or so remaining employees would be coming to HootSuite.
“We’re still determining which employees we’ll bring over,” Holmes said. “At this point the primary value of the acquisition is the user base. We’ll be transitioning Seesmic users to our product.”
Seesmic has several hundred thousand users, but HootSuite is really only interested in the business customers.”The pure consumer users, we’ll be directing them toward Twitter and Facebook’s” original websites and apps, Holmes said.
While Holmes wouldn’t lay the blame directly at the feet of Twitter’s new rules for developers, which limit access to consumer-oriented Twitter tools, those rules were the nail in Seesmic’s coffin.
Seesmic was struggling prior to this. In March, it laid off 18 staffers, more than half the team. Le Meur offered a heartfelt and very public apology about it at the time.
“The best I could do wasn’t very good,” he said to VentureBeat. “I give myself a D-minus.”
Holmes and Le Meur were buddies. Although they began as rivals, it turned into “a friendly competition. We would go running together and talk about the industry from time to time,” he said. So the topic of buying Seesmic wasn’t a completely new idea.
As Seesmic struggled, HootSuite, with its emphasis on business users, flourished. Including its free users, HootSuite has 5 million global users. It counts 79 of the Fortune 100 as paid customers. On the list: McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Virgin, Fox, and Sony Music.
Last week, HootSuite was one of 12 companies that Twitter officially blessed as a certified partner, too.
HootSuite, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, will likely retain Seesmic’s San Francisco office, as increasing its Bay Area presence was on the company’s to-do list.
Consolidation continues to happen in the Twitter tool market, with big players like Buddy Media and Taleo already snapped up by Salesforce.com and Oracle, respectively, for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Holmes told Business Insider that offers have been pouring in for HootSuite, too—big offers. But he hasn’t heard a number that makes him want to sell.
With the addition of Seesmic’s customers, HootSuite is in its own sweet spot to be acquired for that irresistible price.
“We’ve had people reach out to us on the acquisition front,” Holmes said. “At this point I’m focused on continuing to evolve the business through the end of year and beyond.”
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