Black Billionaire Robert F. Smith, Just Made Another $3 Billion with Sell to Adobe

Vista Equity, the private equity firm launched by black billionaire and engineer Robert F. Smith, announced it is selling a cloud-service company it purchased in 2016, Marketo, to Adobe, for $4.7 billion. In May 2016, Vista Equity purchased Marketo for $1.8 billion, reports Forbes. Within three years, Marketo’s revenue grew over $100 million under Smith’s leadership.

Adobe, a leading provider of graphics and video software and services, will incorporate Marketo into its Adobe Experience Cloud platform. According to a press release, the acquisition will enable Adobe to “offer an unrivaled set of solutions for delivering transformative customer experiences across industries and companies of all sizes.”

“The imperative for marketers across all industries is a laser focus on providing relevant, personalized and engaging experiences,” said Brad Rencher, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Experience, Adobe, in a released statement. “The acquisition of Marketo widens Adobe’s lead in customer experience across B2C and B2B and puts Adobe Experience Cloud at the heart of all marketing.”

“Adobe and Marketo both share an unwavering belief in the power of content and data to drive business results,” said Steve Lucas, CEO, Marketo, in the same provided statement. “Marketo delivers the leading B2B marketing engagement platform for the modern marketer, and there is no better home for Marketo to continue to rapidly innovate than Adobe.”

Vista has used acquisitions to help it grow immensely. In November 2016, Vista purchased Cvent Inc., a Tysons Corner, Virginia, leading cloud-based enterprise event management firm, for $1.65 billion. In September 2015, Vista announced plans to buy Solera Holdings in a $6.5 billion deal that included debt. Solera offers software to insurance and car companies. In November, Vista announced its acquisition of Datto, a leading provider of business data protection solutions.

The acquisitions are among many big deals made by Vista’s founder, chairman, and CEO Robert F. Smith. He has compiled mass wealth by buying companies in the technology space. Smith ranked No. 226 on Forbes’ 400 richest list with a net worth of $3.3 billion.

Vista Equity ranks No. 1 on the 2018 Black Enterprise “BE 100s” listing of the nation’s largest black-owned private equity firms.

—Jeffrey McKinney contributed to this report.