Analysts: Salesforce could use Slack Connect to expand networking ambition

The reported deal could see the cloud giant build a B2B collaboration network and move beyond sales and marketing

Slack app displayed on a smartphone

Salesforce's interest in acquiring Slack could be the answer to its long search for a customer collaboration service.

The deal, which is reportedly being discussed by the two companies, could potentially see a B2B collaboration network built within Slack Connect, according to analysts.

Salesforce has added a variety of companies to its portfolio in recent years, using its expanding market cap to branch out into new sectors. MuleSoft was acquired in 2018 for $6.5 billion, and a further $15.3 billion was spent on data visualisation company Tableau in 2019.

However, a deal to acquire Slack would represent one of the biggest ever acquisitions in tech. The comms platform is currently valued at around $20bn, but it's thought that the full cost of the acquisition could be on par with Microsoft's $27 billion purchase of LinkedIn in 2016, or even IBM's $34 billion deal to take over Red Hat in 2019.

A deal for the comms platform would play well with Salesforce's strategy, according to CCS Insight principal analyst Angela Ashenden, particularly with the potential of a B2B collaboration network based on Slack Connect - the company's fledgeling external messaging service.

Salesforce has been in the market for an employee collaboration opportunity for some time, according to Ashden. In 2010, the cloud giant tried to launch its own service, 'Chatter', and later 'Community Cloud', but neither provided an extended reach outside of sales.

"In order to maintain the high rate of growth that it has achieved for the last few years, Salesforce has been investing in initiatives that will enable it to expand its footprint in customer organisations," Ashenden told us. "However, the majority of its current applications portfolio doesn't allow it significant reach beyond the sales and marketing organisation."

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