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Salesforce eyeing Slack acquisition in potential $17bn deal

Enterprise software company Salesforce.com has held talks about buying workplace messaging app Slack, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, in what could be Salesforce’s largest acquisition ever—and one of the biggest in tech history.

The deal would likely value Slack above its market capitalization of $17 billion, and the messaging company’s stock value shot up even further on the news of the potential merger.

Salesforce offers a variety of cloud-based software applications for businesses including relationship management, marketing, sales, and IT, and says over 150,000 companies use its products. The Slack acquisition could help it gain an advantage against fellow business and computing juggernaut Microsoft, which has a chat offering of its own, Teams.

If completed, a Slack deal would be the latest in a string of high-profile acquisitions from the San Francisco-based company, after it bought cloud company MuleSoft in 2018 for $6.5 billion and data visualization firm Tableau in 2019 for $15.4 billion.

The acquisition could also put them into record territory among the biggest tech deals ever, nearing IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat and Facebook’s $19 billion WhatsApp buy.Slack was part of a slate of companies in 2019 which posted disappointing initial public offerings on the stock market, including Lyft and Uber. 

Despite it’s quick growth and large customer base, Slack reportedly still does not turn a profit, even as rival workplace software companies like Zoom cash in on the work-from-home boom during the pandemic.

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