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June 10, 2019

Acquisition Binge: Salesforce Buys Tableau

George Leopold

Analytics vendors continue to be prime acquisition targets for cloud companies with deep pockets.

The latest example is the acquisition of self-service analytics platform specialist Tableau Software by enterprise cloud giant Salesforce in an all-stock transaction valued at $15.7 billion. San-Francisco-based Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) paid $6.5 billion last year to acquire API integration leader Mulesoft, and also has invested in application container pioneer Docker.

Tableau (NYSE: DATA) is a leader in the data visualization market. Industry observers noted that the deal announced on Monday (June 10) would allow Salesforce to compete against Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) in the vibrant business intelligence visualization market.

“Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers,” Salesforce Chairman Marc Benioff said in announcing the deal. The acquisition brings “together two critical platforms that every customer needs to understand their world.”

The acquisition also creates “the largest community of digital transformers in the world,” Benioff asserted during a conference call.

The combination allows Tableau to expand beyond its on-premise data platform to reach customers via multi-cloud deployments.

The deals for Seattle-based Tableau and Mulesoft will combine customers, data and integration, Benioff added, allowing users of the combined platform to access “all types data, regardless of where it resides.”

Tableau’s roster of data analytics customers includes Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ). All are Salesforce customers.

The current data analytics acquisition binge gained momentum last week when Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) cloud unit announced a $2.6 billion all-cash deal to buy data platform and visualization tool vender Looker.

Salesforce said Tableau would operate independently, led by current CEO Adam Selipsky and Tableau’s executive team. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies, and Salesforce said it expects the transaction to close by the end of October.

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