ExactTarget preparing for another IPO attempt

ExactTarget Inc., an e-mail marketing company that canceled plans for an initial public offering during the 2009 financial crisis, has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG to handle a new attempt, said two people familiar with the matter.

The Indianapolis-based company will sell shares when market conditions allow, said one of the people, who declined to be named because the plans haven’t been announced. ExactTarget has been keeping an eye on the IPO market for months, but has been content to grow through venture capital in the meantime.

ExactTarget would follow Responsys Inc., another provider of marketing software, which has gained 3.3 percent since its April debut, and competitor Eloqua Ltd., which announced IPO plans last month. The companies are bucking the trend that has resulted in at least 24 U.S. IPOs getting shelved or scrapped in the past three months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In May 2009, ExactTarget withdrew its initial filing, opting to raise $70 million in private capital from investors including Battery Ventures and Scale Venture Partners.

ExactTarget said in July that revenue jumped 41 percent last year to $134 million. The company has more than 1,000 employees, compared with 283 at the end of 2007.

In its 2007 initial filing for about $86 million, ExactTarget said Thomas Weisel Partners LLC and William Blair & Co. were hired to manage the IPO. The company was about half its current size three years ago, with sales of $32.8 million in the first six months of 2008, a separate filing showed.

Companies have withdrawn or postponed IPOs seeking to raise more than $3.4 billion amid investors’ concerns about the economy, the European debt crisis and Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. Twenty-three have been pulled since the Aug. 5 downgrade, which roiled markets.

Responsys, based in San Bruno, Calif., reported 2010 sales of $94.1 million. As of Monday’s market close, the company traded at 6.2 times last year’s sales. By that measure, ExactTarget would be valued at $831 million.

Eloqua, based in Vienna, Va., recorded revenue of $50.8 million last year. The company plans to raise $100 million in an initial share sale also led by JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank.

Mitch Frazier, a spokesman for ExactTarget, declined to comment, as did Tasha Pelio, a spokeswoman for New York-based JPMorgan, and Scott Helfman, a spokesman for Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank.

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