Salesforce Sells $8 Billion of Bonds to Fund Slack Acquisition

Salesforce.com Inc. wrapped up an $8 billion bond sale Tuesday to fund its $27.7 billion acquisition of Slack Technologies Inc., a deal designed to help the workplace communications platform reach a wider swath of corporate employees.

The San Francisco-based company sold the debt in six parts. The longest portion, a 40-year security, will yield 95 basis points above Treasuries, according to a person familiar with the deal, tighter than initial price discussions of around 115 basis points. The deal had amassed more than $32 billion of orders, the person said.

Along with paying for the acquisition, the proceeds will go toward sustainability causes with one part of the issue reserved for the financing of new or existing green or social projects, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

Salesforce is joining the crush of companies tapping the U.S. debt market while borrowing costs remain cheap. The added buying power is helping Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff finance an effort to expand beyond the marketers and account representatives who use Salesforce apps to manage customers.

The Slack deal is designed to fuel annual sales growth of more than 25% and ranks as Salesforce’s largest acquisition. It’s expected to close by the end of July. Salesforce has one of the strongest credit profiles and was upgraded to A+ from A by S&P Global Ratings on Tuesday. The company maintains an A2 from Moody’s Investors Service.

Salesforce’s bond sale isn’t expected to add risky debt levels relative to the company’s cash flows. Moody’s anticipates debt to a measure of cash flows to reach a ratio of 2.8 times at the close of the deal but decline below 2 times over the next 12 months, the ratings firm said in a report Tuesday.

That separates Salesforce from other investment-grade issuers which have bloated their balance sheets to fund acquisitions in recent years. AT&T Inc. amassed the biggest corporate debt load in the world to help finance purchases of Time Warner and DirecTV, pushing its leverage beyond levels typical of investment-grade companies. Other issuers such as Bayer AG and British American Tobacco Plc also have pursued big bond sales to fund multi-billion-dollar acquisitions that resulted in debt levels more commonly seen among junk-rated firms.

Salesforce Sells $8 Billion of Bonds to Fund Slack Acquisition

Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. managed the bond sale, according to a prospectus filed for the offering.

The investment-grade bond market is seeing trading volumes averaging $23.8 billion a day, trailing 2020 as the busiest second quarter ever, according to a recent note from J.P. Morgan strategists Eric Beinstein and Nathaniel Rosenbaum.

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