If you’re unfamiliar, Salesforce — founded by Marc Benioff — provides sales management software and other cloud services to businesses. It has seen record growth through 2020 as it helps businesses affected by COVID-19 transition to the cloud. The Financial Times says that it has been looking for a customer-facing product for some time as it looks to bolster its product against Microsoft, which itself has a thriving cloud services business. The deal marks the company’s largest, and most ambitious, acquisition to date. Slack’s $27.7 billion price tag is nearly double what it paid for analytics company Tableau, which it bought for $15.7 billion last year.
Slack, meanwhile, has become shorthand for a real-time messaging service that has been embraced by companies who have no idea what IRC is. Its business has, however, suffered a little through 2020, in part because Microsoft’s Teams has been adapted to offer a competing product. Teams is sufficiently contentious that Slack has filed a lawsuit against the software giant in the EU.
Daniel Cooper contributed to this report.
Update 12/1 2:52pm PT: In a message to employees, Butterfield said that joining with Salesforce would be “transformative” for both companies, and that Slack would retain its identity as part of Salesforce. “Our mission, vision, objectives, priorities, values and ambitions remain the same,” he wrote. “We’re not changing our roadmap, or our brand, or the way we do business.”