salesforce.com, inc. (CRM): Is This SaaS Company Just Too Expensive?

Salesforce.com (CRM)salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) has further flexed its muscle as the leading customer relationship management software with its $2.5 billion acquisition of ExactTarget, its largest acquisition in history.

Move to marketing

salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) helps companies better manage critical operations, such as sales force automation, customer service and support and marketing automation. After dominating the software as a service (SaaS) market for a number of years, this latest acquisition puts Salesforce.com in the human capital management market. The addition of ExactTarget to Salesforce.com’s portfolio is its latest push to boost its marketing department.

ExactTarget will propel salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) into the email marketing business, where ExactTarget is a leading provider of social and mobile marketing capabilities. The acquisition is expected to increase total revenue by $120 to $125 million for the year.

Leader
The SaaS market is a bustling one, with projected growth that surpasses many of the other tech sectors. The rebounding economy should lead to increased IT and corporate spending on software, which is a long-term positive for the company.

salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM)’s CRM product is the second largest contributor to the overall SaaS enterprise application market, and this includes its first mover advantage. Salesforce.com’s move into the industry back in the early 2000s helped the company to capture a number of large customers. Gartner believes that the SaaS based CRM market could reach $7.9 billion in 2016, up from the $3.9 billion in 2011.

According to Gartner, salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) ranks above major SaaS/cloud competitors, Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL and SAP AG (NYSE:SAP in terms of “ability to execute  and “completeness of vision.”

Going into the second quarter there were a total of 42 hedge funds long Salesforce.com, which includes Donald Chiboucis’ Columbus Circle Investors, with a $153 million (check out Columbus Circle’s top picks).

The other cloud plays
Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL), the tech giant, reported disappointing fiscal third quarter 2013 results, with revenues decreasing 1% year over year, missing management’s guided range of 1% to 5% growth. New software licenses declined 1.5% from the year-ago quarter and 2.6% from the previous quarter; this was driven by weakness in cloud software subscription sales in Asia Pacific and the Americas.