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Salesforce to buy Tableau for $15.3 billion, making push into big data

FILE - In this May 16, 2019 file photo, Salesforce chairman Marc Benioff speaks during a news confer
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff speaks during a news conference in Indianapolis in May.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Salesforce.com Inc., which makes America’s dominant sales-tracking software, agreed to buy Tableau Software Inc. in an all-stock deal valued at $15.3 billion that it said would help give customers more ways to analyze data.

The takeover will mark Salesforce’s largest deal to date, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Co-Chief Executives Marc Benioff and Keith Block have been chasing new markets to reach an annual revenue goal of as much as $28 billion by fiscal 2023. Benioff has helped Salesforce increase revenue at a rapid clip by acquiring more than 60 companies in 20 years.

Tableau software quickly turns raw data into easily understandable dashboards and charts. The company has been broadening its product line to include data cleanup and machine learning tools, enabling it to compete in the wider data-warehousing business. It has more than 86,000 customers, including Verizon Communications Inc. and Netflix Inc.

“Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers,” Benioff said in a statement Monday. “It’s truly the best of both worlds for our customers.”

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Tableau will remain headquartered in Seattle and will continue to be led by Chief Executive Adam Selipsky, a former Amazon.com Inc. executive who has been transitioning Tableau’s software tools to cloud-based subscriptions.

The deal comes after Alphabet Inc.’s Google agreed to buy Looker Data Sciences Inc. for $2.6 billion last week, a move to expand Google’s offerings for managing data in the cloud.

Each share of Tableau Class A and Class B common stock will be exchanged for 1.103 shares of Salesforce common stock, the companies said. The deal price represents a premium of 42% to Tableau’s closing price on Friday. Salesforce shares fell 5.2% to $152.79 while Tableau soared 33.7% to $167.41.

San Francisco-based Salesforce sees the deal cutting its full-year adjusted earnings per share outlook by 37 cents to 39 cents, to a range of $2.51 to $2.53 a share. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Salesforce, and Goldman Sachs is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Tableau. The deal is expected to close during Salesforce’s fiscal third quarter, which ends Oct. 31.

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