Salesforce to buy Slack

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Workplace messaging app Slack is being acquired by Salesforce for $27.7bn (£20bn). Marc Benioff (pictured), CEO of Salesforce, called the deal a “match made in heaven”.

Slack was founded in 2009 and offers a messaging platform that is positioned as an alternative to email. The company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019 with a valuation of around $20bn.

The company has come up against competition from Microsoft since its Teams offering was announced in 2016. Slack has steadily increased its daily active users (DAUs) from six million when Microsoft Teams launched to 12 million in 2020, but Microsoft Teams has surged ahead – with 115 million DAUs as of October.

During an appearance on Mad Money On CNBC following the news becoming public, Benioff was asked by host Jim Cramer what he made of commentary that says this acquisition is overvalued. Cramer jokingly said, “How are the last two, too big deals?” - referring to Salesforce's Tableau acquisition in 2019 and Mulesoft in 2018.

Benioff replied, “Whenever you do an acquisition, you get these narratives from people who maybe are not in the software industry, so they have no idea what’s happened with customers. Let me tell you what’s happened with customers. Customers are rearchitecting how they are working. They’re building a 360-degree view of their customers. They’re building a 360-degree view of their employees. They want the ability to work from anywhere, and to connect to their customers from anywhere. And you look at the opportunities and they are incredible.

“Number one, selling from anywhere – there’s never been a more important point in history to have your B2B in Salesforce or even your B2C in Salesforce to be able to connect directly with your customers, or service from anywhere. Our customers are performing so well because that’s how our product was built from the beginning. Now, with Slack, it provides this incredible window into a collaborative interface onto all of our services and the whole enterprise itself.”

Salesforce was founded in 1999 offering a customer relationship management (CRM) service. In recent years, the company has looked to expand its software offerings with complementary enterprise applications offering customer service, marketing automation, analytics, and application development.