REDWOOD CITY -- Oracle (ORCL) said Friday that it will buy San Bruno-based Responsys for about $1.5 billion to further bolster its cloud-based marketing efforts.

The sale, for $27 a share in cash, is expected to close in the first half of 2014 and was unanimously approved by Responsys' board of directors. The announcement pleased Wall Street analysts and came almost a year after Oracle purchased Eloqua, which specializes in business-to-business cloud-based marketing.

Analysts said Oracle's acquisition of Responsys, which specializes in allowing customers to create and manage marketing campaigns via email, mobile and social marketing, will complement Oracle Eloqua's marketing efforts.

"For Oracle this acquisition makes sense given the Eloqua acquisition that closed in February this year," Raimo Lenschow of Barclays wrote in a note to investors.

Oracle stock was up Friday after the announcement and closed at $36.37, down 0.63 percent, before rebounding in after-hours trading. Shares of Responsys closed at $27.40, up about 40 percent, and dipped slightly in after-hours trading.

Five-year-old Responsys, with about 1,000 employees who will become part of Oracle, represents more than 450 customers, including Nordstrom, LinkedIn, Lego, Southwest Airlines and United Healthcare.

Responsys generated $163 million in revenue in 2012 and is on schedule to deliver $200 million this year, representing growth of 20 to 25 percent, Lenschow said.

In a note to clients, Daniel Ives of FBR Capital Markets said Oracle's purchase of Responsys will set off a new era of software consolidation.

"In our opinion the stage is set for massive consolidation to take place (in 2014) as we continue to believe larger vendors will look to acquire their way into more fertile growth areas of the tech food chain, while smaller vendors continue to look at strategic technology-driven acquisitions," Ives wrote.

In a statement, Oracle President Mark Hurd said the purchase of Responsys "signifies Oracle's overwhelming commitment to winning and serving the (chief marketing officer) better than any other software company in the world."

In a letter to customers, Responsys Chairman and CEO Dan Springer said Responsys will operate as part of the Oracle Marketing Cloud where it plans "to leverage the vast resources of one of the largest software companies in the world, which can only accelerate our innovation and your success. ... We couldn't be more excited about what this means for our customers and employees."

Contact Dan Nakaso at 408-271-3648. Follow him at Twitter.com/dannakaso.

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Responsys
Specializes in helping customers create and manage marketing campaigns via email, mobile and social marketing
Founded: 1998
Located: San Bruno
Clients: Nordstrom, LinkedIn, Lego, Southwest Airlines among more than 450 others
Revenue: $163 million in 2012, estimated to generate $200 million in 2013