Adobe buys marketing workflow startup Workfront for $1.5 billion

The takeover will bring better collaboration and productivity tools to Adobe Experience Cloud

Adobe sign on a wall at its German offices

Adobe has announced its intent to acquire Workfront for $1.5 billion (£1.1 billion) as it looks to add collaboration tools to its marketing business. 

The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of Adobe’s 2021 fiscal year, subject to regulatory approval, Adobe said

Utah-based Workfront develops project management software for enterprise customers. It will add some 3,000 corporate customers and around one million users to Adobe, with Bloomberg suggesting the takeover could potentially be completed within a week. 

Whenever the deal goes through, it will be the first major action by executive vice president Anil Chakravarthy, who joined Adobe in January.

“Adobe is the undisputed leader in content creation, management, delivery, and measurement and a trusted partner to digital leaders around the globe,” said Chakravarthy. 

“The combination of Adobe and Workfront 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.”

The deal is seen as Adobe's biggest effort to boost its Experience Cloud division, which includes its marketing, advertising and analytics services. The idea is to make its creative and business applications more collaborative, enabling teams to work closer on projects as they continue to operate remotely

Workfront has seen growing interest in its services during the pandemic as marketing firms have sought more insight into their operations. The company's CEO, Alex Shootman, called the Adobe takeover an "awesome outcome".

"When you have an opportunity to work with the company that CMOs rely on to run their business, which is Adobe, and you're a company like Workfront, that takes us forward years in terms of what we would have been able to accomplish on our own," he said.

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