Photo: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
WPP CEO Martin Sorrell wrote an op-ed for The Telegraph that explained his digital investment strategy, past and present.One line in it will have observers scratching their heads: He describes Salesforce.com’s acquisition of Facebook marketing management platform Buddy Media as unfortunate, and occuring “prematurely,” even though it gave WPP a windfall of $50 million on its $5 million stake in Buddy.
Recent stellar examples were Omniture in the area of web analytics and Buddy Media with its Facebook platform. With both we had not only strategic investments, but also training relationships for our people. Unfortunately, both were so good that they were taken out prematurely by Adobe and Salesforce.com.
The Buddy buyout cost Salesforce $735.8 million, according to Salesforce’s annual report. Is Sorrell hinting that he thinks Buddy was worth more? It’s not clear.
Sorrell then went on to list his current stakes in new digital marketing businesses, which he no doubt hopes will suffer a similar fate to Buddy:
However, we have other examples of a similar approach including minority stakes in Vice (online content), Globant (marketing software platform), JumpTap (mobile search), Ace Metrix (TV analytics), mySupermarket and eCommera (both ecommerce).
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