Business Tech

Adobe acquires startup Workfront for USD 1.5 billion

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Adobe just made an announcement that it is taking over marketing workflow management startup Workfront for USD 1.5 billion.

Workfront was founded back in 2001 and had raised USD 375 million. It helps companies manage complex projects inside the marketing department. The acquisition gives Adobe more online marketing tooling to fit into its Experience Cloud.

Alex Shootman, CEO of Workfront, sees the deal as a medium to accelerate the roadmap while working with a larger company. He said, “Presently we are barely scratching the surface of marketing and we would grow tremendously, just by having the great integrated relationship.”

Suresh Vittal, VP of platform and product Adobe Experience Cloud, said that the two companies often worked together and encountered other’s sales teams. As the pandemic continued, it started making more sense to bring in-house a tooling that works well in a distributed environment, and over the last several months the deal came together.

Vittal further explained, “The new normal distributed marketing team, distributed experience delivery teams, people having to work remotely — we started to see new use cases emerge around the idea of work management, around the idea of content velocity, around the idea of providing compliance and governance capabilities so no asset escapes the organization, and it passes through creative and marketing teams and getting out there to representing your brand in the right way.”

Over 960 employees of Workfront will become part of Adobe and Adobe Experience Cloud. Shootman will continue to run it and report to Anil Chakravarthy, Adobe Executive Vice President and General Manager.

Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, remarked that the acquisition will help Adobe customers manage the complexities of marketing project management. He said, “Scheduling and managing work had gotten orders of magnitude more complex for enterprises, and Adobe is accounting for that with the acquisition of Workfront, providing better tool support for the new future of work.”

As Adobe competes Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle in the marketing automation space, it’s been acquiring additional power help in recent years. This acquisition comes after Adobe spent USD 1.6 billion for Magento and USD 4.75 billion for Marketo in 2018. That makes it almost USD 8 billion for three companies in less than two years, even as it builds out parts of its Adobe Experience Cloud in-house. Combined, it shows just how serious the company is about making headway in this valuable area.

The deal will be subject to typical regulatory scrutiny and is expected to tie Workfront’s marketing work management platform to Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud even tighter than they are currently.

Anil Chakravarthy, Adobe Executive Vice President and General Manager, said, “The combination of Adobe and Workfront will help marketing teams would gain significant efficiency, collaboration and productivity gains following the integration of the two platforms. It will further accelerate Adobe’s leadership in customer experience management, providing a pioneering solution that spans the entire lifecycle of digital experiences, from ideation to activation.”

Adobe revealed that the deal is likely slated to close sometime during the first quarter of its fiscal 2021, and Shootman will continue to lead the Workfront team, reporting directly to Anil Chakravarthy.