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Slack, Salesforce reportedly in merger talks

Slack Chief Executive Stewart Butterfield stands outside the New York Stock Exchange before his company's 2019 IPO.
Slack Chief Executive Stewart Butterfield stands outside the New York Stock Exchange before his company’s 2019 IPO. The company has reportedly held talks to be acquired by Salesforce.com.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

Slack Technologies Inc. surged as much as 32% Wednesday after a report said it has held talks to be acquired by Salesforce.com Inc.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the discussions, citing people familiar with the matter and adding that there is no guarantee a deal will happen.

Representatives for Salesforce and Slack couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Acquiring Slack, which has a market valuation of almost $17 billion, would be Salesforce’s biggest deal ever, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The San Francisco-based company, led by Marc Benioff, last year acquired Tableau Software Inc. in an all-stock deal valued at $15.3 billion.

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“Smart move by Benioff,” if the report is true and especially if he uses stock, said Anurag Rana, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “It helps both Salesforce.com and Slack compete more aggressively with Microsoft.”

Slack soared to an intraday high of $39.19. The stock has fluctuated this year as the pandemic’s effect on businesses has spread to its customer base. Shares plummeted 19% in September after the company’s quarterly billings fell short of analysts’ estimates, as its small- and mid-sized business customers cut spending budgets. The San Francisco-based company went public via a direct listing in 2019.

Salesforce, which makes the U.S.’ dominant sales-tracking software, slid as much as 5.2%. It has climbed 61% this year for a market valuation of $237 billion.


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