INTERNATIONAL. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the world’s largest software maker, has agreed to purchase Yammer Inc., operator of a social network for businesses, for US$1.2 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.
The deal is expected to be announced by the end of June, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. Dee Anna McPherson, a spokeswoman for Yammer, declined to comment on a potential acquisition, as did Frank Shaw, a spokesman for Microsoft.
Microsoft could add Yammer’s corporate social networking tools to its Office and SharePoint software products for businesses. Large information-technology companies are snapping up nimbler startups, sometimes before they reach an initial public offering, spending US$17.4 billion on enterprise software acquisitions in 2011, compared with US$715.5 million in 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
A deal for Yammer would follow other recent enterprise software purchases centered around social media. Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM) gained social-marketing tools through its US$745 million purchase of Buddy Media Inc. earlier this month, and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) recently bought two companies that analyze data on social-media sites -- Vitrue Inc. and Collective Intellect Inc.
San Francisco-based Yammer was founded in 2008 by David Sacks, the former chief operating officer at PayPal Inc. It has raised more than US$140 million in funding from venture firms, including Charles River Ventures Inc. and Emergence Capital Partners.
Yammer is used by more than 200,000 companies, including Ford Motor Co. and EBay Inc. (EBAY) It provides features for internal corporate use that are similar to those found on Facebook Inc. (FB)’s website. Yammer competes with Jive Software Inc. (JIVE), Chatter, run by Salesforce.com., and Asana Inc., Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz’s company.
Microsoft shares rose 2.3% to US$30.02 at yesterday’s close in New York. The stock has increased 16% this year.