DocuSign (DOCU 2.12%), the maker of digital signature software, is having a horrible year. The company's stock is down nearly 79% from last year's all-time high. Moreover, chief executive officer Dan Springer stepped down on June 21, less than two weeks after the company reported dismal fiscal 2023 first-quarter earnings results (for the quarter ending April 30).

With its stock price languishing and its leadership in flux, some analysts think that DocuSign could be an acquisition target. There are at least three companies out there that are potential candidates. Let's explore which companies might consider putting in an offer for DocuSign and the business case for each.

1. Microsoft

As one of the world's largest corporations, Microsoft (MSFT 0.44%) has more than enough resources to swallow up DocuSign without missing a beat. That said, Washington-based Microsoft is already in the midst of an increasingly challenging acquisition of Activision Blizzard that might preclude it from taking on another purchase right now.

Last Wednesday, the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it was investigating Microsoft's Activision acquisition and would render an initial decision before the end of August. If the initial decision goes against Microsoft, it's possible it might table the Activision deal in favor of gobbling up the much smaller DocuSign. After all, Microsoft already has a strategic partnership with DocuSign.

In terms of likelihood, I'd rank this scenario as a 7 out of 10.

2. Adobe

Another potential bidder for DocuSign is Adobe (ADBE 2.17%). Yet the more you dig under the hood here, the less this deal makes sense. Adobe has its own similar product offering -- Adobe Sign -- that is compatible with Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Moreover, Adobe has only $5.3 billion in cash on hand. Therefore, it would likely need to raise funds via debt offering or dilute its own shares to complete the acquisition. 

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MSFT Cash and Short Term Investments (Quarterly) data by YCharts

I think the likelihood of Adobe putting in an offer is low; I rank it as 2 out of 10.

3. Zoom Video Communications

The business case for Zoom Video Communications (ZM -0.05%) makes a great deal of sense. A combined Zoom/DocuSign company would address some of the most critical applications necessary for remote work: video conferencing and digital signatures. 

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ZM Market Cap data by YCharts

However, unlike Microsoft or Adobe, Zoom would likely be gambling its future on the deal. After peaking at $119 billion in 2021, Zoom's market cap is now only $36 billion; it has less than $5.7 billion of cash on hand. To complete a deal for DocuSign, which has a market cap of $13 billion, Zoom would need to raise more cash or issue stock -- either of which may drive its stock lower. 

While the business case is strong, I don't see a deal here in the near term; I rank it 4 out of 10.

Is DocuSign stock a buy now?

The prospect of an acquisition does raise DocuSign's appeal as a stock, and investors with a high appetite for risk might be enticed to jump in with both feet right now.

However, when I think of DocuSign, only one word comes to mind: uncertainty. Its CEO has just stepped down; its most recent earnings report disappointed Wall Street. For me, this is a situation that can be safely avoided until some clarity emerges. In a few months, DocuSign may have a new strategy that is more appealing. But for now, I view it as a wait-and-see story.