to buy ExactTarget for $2.5 billion

Deal raises questions about's future relationships with marketing software partners is set to deepen its reach into marketing software with the purchase of ExactTarget for about $2.5 billion. The deal, which was announced Tuesday, is scheduled to close by the end of July.

While already had an assortment of marketing-related technology, particularly for running ads on social media sites, ExactTarget's focus is on multi-channel marketing automation, an area where has generally relied on partners such as Marketo.

It's no secret why is interested in expanding its portfolio in marketing software. For one thing, Gartner has predicted that chief marketing officers will spend more money on IT than CIOs by 2017, as noted in its announcement. and ExactTarget's products, when combined, will "create a world-class marketing platform across email, social, mobile and the web," said in a statement.

ExactTarget has more than 6,000 customers, among them Coca-Cola and Nike, according to the announcement. and ExactTarget executives are expected to discuss the deal further during a conference call Tuesday.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is

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