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SoftBank benefits from acquisition

When agreed to buy social media marketing firm Buddy Media for almost $690 million, one of the big winners was SoftBank Capital, a Japanese venture capital firm with Buffalo ties.

SoftBank, one of the early venture capital investors in Buddy Media, owned more than 15 percent of the New York City-based company, which makes marketing software to help promote products on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

"It was a wonderful deal for us," said Jordan Levy, a Buffalo-based general partner at SoftBank Capital New York, which first invested in five-year-old Buddy Media in 2008 and was its biggest institutional investor.

"We are just thrilled to have been a part of the company almost from beginning," Levy said.

The Buddy Media acquisition is one of a handful of recent deals involving social media marketing companies by software makers like Oracle Corp. and SAP AG, which are looking for ways to tap into the fast-growing social media market.

Buddy Media's offerings allow clients to publish content to social media sites and help them evaluate the effectiveness of their social media marketing programs. More than 1 billion consumers are estimated to exchange views on products and services on online platforms.

Salesforce said it will merge Buddy Media with its own Radian 6 unit, which helps clients monitor social media trends.

"Social media has caused the biggest transformation in marketing since the Mad Men era, causing chief marketing officers to completely rethink their strategies," Marcel LeBrun, senior vice president of the Radian 6 unit, in a statement. "We are doubling down on the Salesforce marketing cloud to provide chief marketing officers with the ability to manage the entire social marketing life cycle."