Salesforce Pays Up for Tableau, Continuing Benioff's Tradition
(Bloomberg) -- Salesforce.com Inc.’s $15.3 billion purchase of Tableau Inc. shows once again that co-founder Marc Benioff doesn’t shy away from paying handsomely for companies he covets.
The price tag is about 13 times Tableau’s revenue, ranking it among the most expensive software deals recently, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The only other deals that were more costly on that basis were Cisco Systems Inc.’s acquisition of AppDynamics in 2017, SAP SE’s purchase of Qualtrics last fall, and Salesforce’s own takeover of MuleSoft a year ago -- a process also driven by Benioff.
Tableau will give Salesforce more powerful analytics tools that can visualize data for business users. It will add $350 million to $400 million in revenue this fiscal year, Salesforce said Monday in a statement. The deal comes just days after Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced a plan to buy Looker Data Sciences Inc. for $2.6 billion to help customers better manage data in the cloud.
Anurag Rana, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst speaking on Bloomberg radio, said Tableau was expensive, but pointed out that SAP paid more based on revenue in the Qualtrics deal. That deal was 21 times revenue, according to Bloomberg data.
“Current valuation in software is so high, if you want to get a deal done, you have to take out cash at a much higher multiple,” he said. Rana also pointed out it’s an all-stock deal, so Salesforce didn’t actually have to spend that cash.
Benioff said he’s long felt a kinship to Tableau, and is glad they finally closed a deal.
Tableau is “a brother from another mother,” Benioff said Monday on a conference call with analysts. “We’ve tried to do something for a long time and it’s just hard to get the stars to align. And I think that we are fortunate that we got there. Our customers are looking to do a lot more in this area.”
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