The cloud provider and SAP competitor Salesforce is buying the office communication service Slack. So far, it has struggled to assert itself against the competition. This could change now.
“We are made for each other,” said Salesforce boss Marc Benioff, celebrating the most expensive takeover in the company’s history on the evening after the US market closed. Together, both companies would fuel the trend of being able to work from anywhere in the world.
Salesforce, which has grown strongly through acquisitions in the past, is paying the price in shares as well as cash. On Wall Street, the two stocks fell after hours. The slack paper had grown by a whopping 75 percent since insider reports about the upcoming takeover became known on November 10th. This was the first time they were quoted at the level of 42 dollars they had reached on the first day of trading on the stock exchange in June 2019.
Rescue from the descent
Then it went downhill rapidly. Contrary to expectations, Slack was unable to benefit from the trend towards home offices and the associated popularity of messenger services. In particular, the fierce competition from Microsoft’s Teams software makes it difficult for the company to acquire paying business customers.
The increasing popularity of Zoom is also causing problems for Slack. That is why the company recently had to grant discounts more frequently in order not to be completely replaced by its competitors. Salesforce’s offer therefore comes at exactly the right time. Market experts even spoke of a rescue from relegation.
Salesforce is bursting with power
Salesforce is completely different. In the third fiscal quarter, which ended in October, Salesforce sales climbed 19 percent on a currency-neutral basis to $ 5.42 billion. At the same time, the cloud pioneer from San Francisco raised its revenue forecast for the fiscal year to around $ 21.1 billion.
The company that dominates the customer management software (CRM) market is benefiting from the home office trend. As a result, companies have to rely more on computing capacities and applications from the cloud so that their employees can act remotely.
New distribution channels
Salesforce, in turn, could open up new sales channels for Slack and offer the messenger service to its cloud customers, thereby strengthening Slack’s business at Microsoft’s expense.
Stewart Butterfield, founder and boss of Slack, has always emphasized in the past that he was not interested in selling. At the time of the IPO, he controlled around 18 percent of the Slack shares. The 47-year-old Butterfield was one of the founders of the photo platform Flickr, which they sold to the web pioneer Yahoo in 2005 for a few tens of millions of dollars.