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Slack shares skyrocket 38% on report of possible Salesforce purchase

Slack went public in June 2019.


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Salesforce.com Inc.  is in advanced talks to buy Slack Technologies Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that would unite a giant in business software with a buzzy newcomer on a mission to replace office email.

The companies could reach a deal within days — possibly by the time Salesforce reports its third-quarter financial results Tuesday, some of the people said. Slack
WORK,
+37.59%
,
with a market value of more than $17 billion as of Wednesday morning, would be Salesforce’s largest acquisition ever. There is no guarantee the companies will reach an agreement.

Salesforce
CRM,
-5.37%

is the world’s biggest seller of software that companies use to manage their customer relationships. Started 21 years ago and run by co-founder Marc Benioff, it was a pioneer in providing software via the cloud through a subscription rather than a costly upfront installation. Benioff, chairman and chief executive, is one of Silicon Valley’s highest profile executives, a status he burnished with the purchase of Time magazine.

Salesforce has a market value of some $230 billion after years of big gains and its rich stock price—which trades at nearly 100 times its trailing-year profits—gives the company a valuable currency to use for takeovers.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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