It's official: salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) has formally submitted its offer to purchase remote work service Slack Technologies (NYSE:WORK). It ends a tumultuous run for Slack stock. A high-water mark out of the gate when the company IPO'd over the summer of 2019 wasn't ever permanently retaken -- at least not until rumors surfaced that Salesforce was interested in buying.
Each share of Slack will be entitled to $26.79 in cash and 0.0776 shares of Salesforce stock, valuing Slack at $27.7 billion as of the announced proposal and a 50% premium to where it traded pre-takeover rumors.
Slack shareholders will become Salesforce shareholders -- if they so choose
Since part of the deal includes Salesforce stock, Slack owners will become part of the Salesforce family if the deal goes through and they choose to hold on to their new stake. This is a choice other software firm shareholders have been faced with, like when Salesforce acquired Tableau in 2019. Some investors have not been comfortable with Salesforce's aggressive acquisition strategy.
However, the cloud software pioneer has a history of making acquisitions that are more valuable than the sum of their individual parts. It's a regular purchaser of smaller peers and often issues new stock to pay for its spending spree. However, Salesforce's earnings and free cash flow (revenue minus cash operating and capital expenses) have more than outpaced the rate of new share issuance. CEO Marc Benioff and company think they're on to something with the addition of Slack, calling the tie-up "the operating system for the new way to work, uniquely enabling companies to grow and succeed in the all-digital world" we now live in.
Whether it pays off remains to be seen, but I like its chances. Salesforce reported year-over-year revenue growth of 20% to $5.42 billion during Q3. Adding Slack to the mix gives it another tool as it increasingly encroaches on the turf of legacy software firms like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) -- Slack's primary competitor with its Teams remote work tool. Salesforce will put Slack to work as its primary user interface for its Customer 360 data management software suite.