Email marketing company iContact, one of the Triangle's fastest-growing technology companies, has been acquired in a deal valued at $169 million.
Vocus, a Maryland-based publicly traded provider of cloud-based marketing and public relations software, announced after the markets closed today that it has acquired iContact.
IContact, which has about 250 employees and is based in Morrisville, generated $39 million in revenue in 2010, a jump of about 50 percent. Co-founder and CEO Ryan Allis said in an interview in October that the business was on track to reach $50 million to $55 million in revenue for 2011.
The privately held company's software enables small and mid-sized businesses and other organizations to create, send and track their email messages. Last fall iContact added new social networking capabilities so its customers can post messages via Facebook and Twitter and measure how those messages resonate with their target audiences.
"I am thrilled that iContact and Vocus are combining forces to become the global leader in cloud-based marketing software for small and mid-size businesses," Allis said in a statement.
Vocus plans to integrate iContact's software into its marketing suite that companies use to reach and influence customers businesses across social networks and through the media.
The terms of the deal include $91 million in cash, $9 million in Vocus common stock and $79 million in preferred stock. The net value is $169 million because Vocus is obtaining $10 million in cash with the acquisition.
IContact was founded in 2003 by Allis, now 27, and Aaron Houghton, the company's executive chairman, while they were students at UNC-Chapel Hill. The company was bootstrapped in the early going -- that is, it was self-funded -- but in recent years raised more than $50 million in venture financing. Among its investors is the Triangle-based Idea Fund Partners.
The company has worked hard to cultivate an esprit de corps among its employees with perks such as Bagel Mondays and free monthly massages. Last year the company turned its employees loose on decorating its Morrisville offices, giving each of 16 teams of employees a $2,000 budget and carte blanche. (The employees can't take credit, however, for the circular slide that connects two floors.)
IContact also has had a socially responsible bent. It contributes 1 percent of its payroll to local nonprofits and gives employees 2 1/2 days off each year for volunteer work.