October 4, 2018 / 9:00 PM / 19 days ago

Social media analytics platform Hootsuite explores sale: sources

(Reuters) - Hootsuite Inc, a Canadian company that describes itself as the world’s most widely used platform for managing social media, is exploring a sale that could value it at more than $750 million, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

A sale would allow Hootsuite’s venture capital backers to cash out at a time when cyber security and privacy concerns make social media analytics firms more popular with corporate clients. Hootsuite’s investors include CIBC Innovation Banking, Accel Partners, Insight Venture Partners and OMERS Ventures.

Hootsuite is working with investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc on an auction process, the sources said. The discussions are still in at an early stage and may not result in a sale, the sources added, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Hootsuite has about $150 million in 12-month revenue, the sources said.

Hootsuite did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Founded in 2008, Vancouver-based Hootsuite is used by about 16 million people and more than 80 percent of Fortune 1000 companies to manage their presence on social media sites, such as Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and LinkedIn.

It offers services including scheduling social media posts in advance, monitoring readership of social media content and offering analytics to help improve companies’ social media marketing efforts.

The sale process comes as companies revisit their social media marketing and advertising strategies amid a wave of political criticism over violations of the privacy of customers’ data.

Facebook, for example, has made efforts to tighten third-party access to data after it was questioned by the U.S. Congress about whether its privacy protections were too lax. The European Union also recently enacted tough new data privacy rules.

Recent deals in the sector include Interpublic Group of Companies Inc’s $2.3 billion acquisition of Acxiom Corp’s marketing solutions business, AT&T Inc’s acquisition of advertising analytics company AppNexus and Oracle Corp’s acquisition of digital measurement company Moat.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Carl O'Donnell in New York, editing by G Crosse

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