Salesforce.com acquires Jigsaw's SaaS-based data services

Salesforce.com is buying Jigsaw's online data services company and sees an opportunity to develop software on top of the information sharing service.

Salesforce.com today entered into an agreement to purchase Jigsaw, a SaaS-based, community supported data services company, for approximately $142 million in cash.

Jigsaw's online business directory functions as an information sharing service. Members accrue points by sharing contact data such as name, title, company, mailing address, phone number and email address and updating existing records to ensure data quality. Those points can then be redeemed to access other contact data. Jigsaw also offers a data cleansing and updating service on a subscription basis.

Jigsaw's CEO has said in the past that it is "open sourcing corporate data."

Salesforce.com is hoping Jigsaw's platform creates the opportunity for developers and independent software vendors to develop new applications that leverage that business data.

"Salesforce.com is excited to bring the data services industry into the era of Cloud 2,” Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com, said in a statement. “With Jigsaw, we’ll make it as easy as Wikipedia to source data, as easy as iTunes to buy data and as easy as Facebook to stay updated as the data changes.”

Salesforce.com estimates the cloud-based business-to-business data services market at $3 billion and, according to the press release announcing the deal, will create new opportunities to partner with companies like Hoovers, Dunn&Bradstreet and Lexis/Nexis. However, in the past Jigsaw had set itself up as a competitor to those data service providers.

Jigsaw's application is currently available on Salesforce.com's AppExchange as a free download. 

The deal is expected to close on the second quarter of 2011.

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