Jessica Goodfellow
Jun 11, 2019

Salesforce grows data skills with $15.7B Tableau purchase

The $15.7B acquisition forms part of Salesforce's strategy to diversify beyond pure play CRM software and into digital transformation.

Salesforce grows data skills with $15.7B Tableau purchase

Salesforce has acquired business intelligence software firm Tableau for US$15.7 billion in stock, in a move to strengthen its digital transformation capabilities.

The deal will involve shares of Tableau common stock getting exchanged for 1.103 shares of Salesforce common stock, so the $15.7 billion figure is the enterprise value of the transaction based on the average price of Salesforce’s shares as of 7 June 2019.

The two boards have already approved the deal, according to a Salesforce release.
Salesforce co-chief executive and chairman Marc Benioff said the deal will combine its customer relationship management capabilities with Tableau’s analytics expertise.

“Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers,” he said. “It’s truly the best of both worlds for our customers — bringing together two critical platforms that every customer needs to understand their world.”

In an interview with CNBC, he said the merger of the two software companies helps his company complete the “third cornerstone” of digital transformation, as the company continues to diversify beyond CRM software.

The first cornerstone is the customer and the second is data integration, which informed Salesforce’s $6.5 billion acquisition of Mulesoft last year.

Tableau brings analytics, data visualisation and business intelligence to the fold.

The software company has around 86,000 business customers, including Charles Schwab, Verizon, Schneider Electric, Southwest and Netflix.

Commenting on the deal, Tableau president and chief executive Adam Selipsky said: “Joining forces with Salesforce will enhance our ability to help people everywhere see and understand data.”

The acquisition comes one week after Google made a similar purchase in analytics startup Looker for $2.6 billion.

Forrester VP and research director Allen Bonde said the deal is an answer to SAP’s purchase of Qualtrics to build out its customer experience capabilities.

“While a leader in many waves, Salesforce has been weaker when it comes to customer analytics versus its peers so this addition will help on that front. Tableau has a great front-end experience and is a master of self-service apps that appeal to the masses, something Salesforce will also benefit from as it looks to expand its market.

“That said, a lot of Tableau customers are on-prem [use in-house servers], so they will need to rationalise the cloud strategy for the combined company.” 

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