Salesforce Acquires Slack for Nearly $28 Billion
After about a week of speculation that a deal was in the works, Salesforce today made it official, announcing its acquisition of business communications technology provider Slack Technologies for $27.7 billion. It is Salesforce's biggest acquisition to date.
With the acquisition, Slack will become the interface for Salesforce's Customer 360 platform, transforming how people communicate, collaborate, and take action on customer information across Salesforce and from all of their other business apps and systems. Slack also will be deeply integrated into every Salesforce Cloud.
Slack's open platform seamlessly integrates with more than 2,400 business applications.
"This is a match made in heaven," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, in a statement. "Together, Salesforce and Slack will shape the future of enterprise software and transform the way everyone works in the all-digital, work-from-anywhere world."
"Salesforce started the cloud revolution, and two decades later, we are still tapping into all the possibilities it offers to transform the way we work. The opportunity we see together is massive" said Stewart Butterfield, Slack's CEO and co-founder, in a statement. "As software plays a more and more critical role in the performance of every organization, we share a vision of reduced complexity, increased power and flexibility, and ultimately a greater degree of alignment and organizational agility. Personally, I believe this is the most strategic combination in the history of software, and I can't wait to get going."
The deal puts Salesforce in a better position to compete with Microsoft, whose Teams product is Slack biggest rival.
Salesforce has dabbled in the social collaboration space before. It reportedly was considering purchases of LinkedIn and Twitter at one time, and in 2016 it acquired Quip to allow social sharing of documents. It had also tried to offer its own Chatter business social platform, which it ultimately abandoned.
Former Salesforce executive Gregg Johnson worked on Salesforce Chatter from 2009 to 2013 and left Salesforce in 2016 to become CEO of conversational intelligence startup Invoca
"Acquiring Slack would be a game-changer for Salesforce. It gives them the opportunity to turn themselves into a digital network where businesses can interact," he says. "Beyond that, Salesforce has ambitious plans to grow beyond sales, service, and marketing teams. The acquisitions of Mulesoft and Tableau were a first step in unifying back-office and front-office data, but both of those tools are used by a relatively small set of power users. Acquiring Slack would represent an important second step in this direction by extending Salesforce's reach to all employees across the organization."
Dustin Grosse, chief marketing and strategy officer at Nintex, a Salesforce partner, sees this acquisition as Salesforce's validation of the importance of an integrated workforce collaboration platform with the inevitable remote work future.
"Salesforce acquiring Slack is a bold move in their on-going competition with Microsoft. Slack extends Salesforce capabilities beyond their leading customer relationship management platform into modern collaboration capabilities that will appeal to sellers, marketers, developers, and other departments across many organizations," he says.
Other industry insiders and Salesforce partners were equally enthusiastic about the move.
"A Salesforce acquisition of Slack sends a big message to the market that Salesforce wants to continue to be a consolidation point for employees," says Mike Hicks, chief marketing officer at Beezy. "With this, we can expect to see Salesforce creating a strong integration and workflow experience with Slack on top of pushing new innovation between the vast pool of respective partners with apps and tools meant to enhance the core capabilities of Slack and Salesforce."
Salesforce's investment in Slack "shows they understand the way organizations function have changed for the long haul, adds Scott Webb, CEO of Avionos. "Remote collaboration and streamlined communication will be the norm going forward."
"Salesforce's acquisition of Slack brings together employees and customers in a single collaborative experience, which is exactly what’s driving the adoption of new SaaS applications. Just as COVID accelerated the adoption of SaaS for the digital workforce, this move will accelerate the move toward centralization of collaboration, experience and management. It will force the giants in both customer and employee engagement (Microsoft, Google, Amazon) to respond," says Eric Christopher, co-founder and CEO of Zylo, an enterprise SaaS management platform provider
"The acquisition of Slack by Salesforce is an interesting move by the CRM leading vendor, and a clear indication of the on-going battle between the giants in the workplace collaboration space," says Tzachi Levy, senior vice president of product and engineering at Vidyo. "This move puts Salesforce in a unique position, placing CRM in the middle of the unified collaboration world, a concept that might make a lot of sense to many enterprises and completely change the way organizations communicate internally as well as define a new way of interacting with their customers."