Salesforce a buy on $27.7bn Slack acquisition?

Cloud software pioneers Salesforce (CRM) is to buy work-chat service supplier Slack (WORK) for $27.7bn.

Slack will be the biggest acquisition that Marc Benioff-owned Salesforce has made to date. Shares dropped by around 5% upon the news, due to the size of the deal.

Slack shareholders will receive $26.79 in cash and 0.0776 shares of Salesforce common stock under the deal. Salesforce agreed to pay a 55% premium to Slack stock’s November 24th 2020 closing price.

Based on the size of the deal, and its potential making Slack a major player in the business comms stakes, our rating on the Marketsx platform, based on analyst’s insights, is a strong buy.

At the time of writing, Salesforce avg. price target is now $291.53 – an upside of 21%.

The deal is to give both Slack and Salesforce a shot a levelling the playing field against current sector leader Microsoft. The Seattle-based software giant has been busy in lockdown, with Teams seemingly becoming the de facto software intra-business communications choice during the pandemic.

Microsoft can, however, boast a marketing budget to make Croesus blush, and already has elephantine brand recognition. Additionally, it has bundled Teams in its Office business software packages, which makes its ubiquity alongside other day-to-day standard apps like Word and Excel, less than surprising.

Slack, which launched in 2014, hasn’t had the backing that Teams can boast. However, governments and companies have been switching over to it in larger numbers as they seek out a nimbler alternative to email. Is email really in danger of becoming electronic snail mail? Probably not, as Outlook is pretty much industry standard, but with Salesforce’s backing and investment, Slack may see larger widescale adoption.

For instance, Salesforce could pull a Microsoft and package Slack alongside its other business software options to mirror Office 365.

Salesforce is casting a wider net of acquisitions. It picked up Tableau Software, a data analytics specialist, last year for cool $15.7bn and was even in the running to secure LinkedIn in 2016 before Microsoft hoovered up the social media platform.

Work-from-home enablers are particularly hot right now. But a vaccine is knocking on the door, with the UK approving the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for mass roll out this week, so will people still be working from home as “normality” reasserts itself? Probably. The benefits are being widely felt, and there’s a general feeling amidst workers of all stripes that home working, with all its added flexibility, is the future.

Certainly, this all plays into Benioff’s vision of a world governed by cloud-based computing. Software as a service is very quickly becoming the model for developers and suppliers globally, so it stands to reason Salesforce is moving to shorten the gap between itself and Microsoft.

Salesforce reported October quarter earnings and revenue that topped analyst estimates following on from big investment gains on Snowflake stock.

As such, Salesforce earnings rocketed to $1.74 a share. Its gains from investments totalled 86% in latest earnings, the company said, with revenues rising 20% to hit $5.42bn.

Slack is due to report its Q3 2021 earnings after market close on Wednesday 9th December.