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Slack CEO Says More Acquisitions Are Coming

By Evan Niu, CFA – Jul 10, 2020 at 7:30AM

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The enterprise messaging platform has $1.5 billion in its war chest.

Earlier this week, popular enterprise messaging platform Slack (WORK) acquired corporate directory start-up Rimeto for an undisclosed sum. Slack has been instrumental in keeping workers connected and collaborating across organizations as COVID-19 has accelerated the shift to remote work, and Rimeto will augment those efforts with far more detailed directory profiles.

CEO Stewart Butterfield is now telling investors that there could be more where that came from.

Headshot of Stewart Butterfield

Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield. Image source: Slack.

Time to go on a buying spree

Speaking with Yahoo Finance this week, Butterfield suggested that Slack is preparing to kick its acquisition strategy into overdrive. Historically, the company has been growing so rapidly that Slack was more focused on managing that growth and didn't have the bandwidth to really allocate resources toward integrating smaller companies.

As Slack continues to mature as a platform, it can now turn its attention to acquiring complementary companies and integrating them, according to Butterfield. The chief executive told the outlet:

We want to be a lot more aggressive. Obviously, valuations are high across the board. And now that we're in the better position -- we have 120,000 customers -- it makes more sense to us as an avenue for distribution but also just to kind of accelerate the roadmap because there's so much that we're working on that we think is really important.

Butterfield is referring to the fact that many tech companies have seen their valuations soar in recent months amid the coronavirus pandemic. While the public health crisis is wreaking havoc across many sectors of the economy, companies that provide critical online services to enterprise organizations have become inadvertent beneficiaries of a new remote work reality that's likely to persist even after the virus is defeated.

That may mean that Slack has to pay up for potential acquisition targets that it might be eyeing right now. The company's pockets aren't as deep as enormous rivals like Microsoft, which bundles its competing Teams platform in with Office 365, but Slack has a respectable war chest.

The balance sheet is extremely strong at the moment, with Slack finishing last fiscal quarter with over $1.5 billion in cash and marketable securities. In addition to raising $862.5 million through an upsized convertible senior note offering in April ($105.6 million of those proceeds was spent on capped call transactions to mitigate potential dilution), revenue jumped 50% to $201.7 million and free cash flow swung into positive territory.

Competition among virtual-meeting companies is intensifying, and now is the perfect time for Slack to go on a buying spree in order to further differentiate itself from rivals while cementing its position as a mission-critical productivity tool.

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Evan Niu, CFA has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Microsoft and Slack Technologies and recommends the following options: short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft and long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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