Cloud-based software giant Salesforce reportedly is in advance talks to buy messaging app Slack — just months after Salesforce’s billionaire boss Marc Benioff denied he was interested in making any acquisitions.
San Francisco-based Salesforce sees Slack as a logical extension of its enterprise offerings, a source told Reuters on Wednesday, adding there is no certainty of a deal.
Neither company was immediately available for comment on reports of the offer.
Slack Technologies jumped 24 percent, while Salesforce fell 2.7 percent after the Wall Street Journal first reported the news.
The news comes despite Benioff — who with his wife Lynne shelled out $190 million to scoop up Time magazine in 2018 — denying in August that Salesforce was pursuing any acquisitions.
“I think that for a company like Salesforce, we don’t really see an M&A environment. These are not — we’re not in a moment,” Benioff told analysts during an Aug. 25 earnings call.
“We’re not in a good M&A environment. I just don’t see it. Maybe things could change. Of course, things always are changing,” Benioff added. “But I think this isn’t part of our plan right now. We don’t see that. We really see focusing on our business, focusing on these operational values, executing our business.”
Many analysts have predicted for years that Salesforce would eventually buy Slack. By not tipping his hand, Benioff succeeded at making a bid for Slack at a time when its shares have languished.
Slack’s shares from Aug. 25 through its opening price on Nov. 25 have been steady, rising only from $28.57 to $29.55, giving the company a market value of just under $17 billion. The shares have underperformed since the company’s market debut last year as it failed to cash in on the rise in users working remotely during the pandemic.
“It’s a classic head fake and very funny,” an investor following the situation told The Post.
However, Benioff may still not get Slack at the price he wants. The fact that the merger talks have been reported now makes it more likely another suitor may approach Slack, like Oracle, resulting in a bidding war, the source said.
Meanwhile, Salesforce has been beefing up its cloud business through acquisitions and had spent more than $16 billion last year to fend off competition from rivals such as Oracle Corp and German competitor SAP.
Shares of rival Microsoft, which owns Teams chat and conferencing app, were down 0.5 percent in afternoon trading.
With Post wires
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