Jan 5, 2023 Accounting — Eric Giguere

Intuit buys Mailchimp for $12B - Fast Company

Intuit, the company behind TurboTax and small-business accounting software QuickBooks, has announced plans to acquire marketing automation company Mailchimp for about $12 billion in cash and stock.

Leaders from the two companies say that the acquisition will let users more easily use their combined marketing and financial data to plan advertising campaigns to maximize return on investment and bring in the best customers for them.

Mailchimp is a privately owned company based in Atlanta. It was founded in 2001 and initially focused on email newsletters. Since then, it's expanded to other areas of online marketing, including social media posting on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, advertising through Facebook and Google, exchanging texts with consumers, and even dispatching physical postcards through the mail. It allows users to set up online stores and other content. This makes it a one-stop shop for small businesses seeking a digital presence, and a structured customer relationship management tool.

Mailchimp has approximately 13 million users worldwide, with approximately 2.4 million active users per month and 800,000. paid customers, according to the companies. CEO Ben Chestnut, who plans to stay on after the acquisition, says he expects the company's pattern of innovation to continue.

Fast Company tells him, "The message from both ends is to accelerate."

Intuit, based in Mountain View, California, does have a consumer side, offering popular but controversial TurboTax as well as services it's acquired including financial tracking tool Mint and the free credit monitoring service Credit Karma. However, it is the creator of QuickBooks, the leading accounting software for small businesses. The company said in a presentation about the acquisition that it will help Intuit realize at least two of its "big bets": to "be the center of small-business growth" and to "disrupt the small-business mid-market."

While company officials interviewed by Fast Company didn't rule out the possibility of future integrations between Mailchimp and Intuit's consumer-facing products, the clear goal of the acquisition is offering a comprehensive suite of tightly connected accounting and marketing tools for small businesses.

QuickBooks currently holds billions of data points about the transactions of small-business customers with their vendors and clients, but it doesn’t directly provide a way to harness those data for marketing and communications. Alex Chriss is the executive vice president and general managers of Intuit’s Small Business and Self-Employed Group.

He says, "We really have no way for them to communicate with those customers."

Mailchimp integrates with Mailchimp to allow customers to be segmented automatically or manually using a variety data points. "There's just an immediate opportunity to enable our customers to leverage our data that's purchasing data," Chriss says.

Chestnut states that customers will be able to view QuickBook's data on cash flow and budgeting, which will allow Mailchimp to help them choose the best marketing channels and maximize their returns. Mailchimp's features, such as appointment scheduling, will be beneficial for QuickBooks users working in the service industry. Meanwhile, those who sell physical goods can use Mailchimp’s eCommerce tech, Chriss states.

The companies already have some integrations in place between their platforms, though the executives say the details of combined offerings will be announced at a later date. Chriss also stated that the companies were committed to maintaining open platforms. Integrations between one platform as well as a competitor shouldn't disappear.

The acquisition is expected to close in January 2022.

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