Salesforce to Buy Tableau in $15B Analytics Move

The acquisition combines Tableau's tools for understanding data with Salesforce's solutions for understanding customers.
Matthew HellerJune 10, 2019
Salesforce to Buy Tableau in $15B Analytics Move

Salesforce said Monday it had agreed to acquire Tableau for $15.7 billion, making a major bet on data analytics as it continues to diversify away from its core CRM software business.

Salesforce’s existing data tools include its Einstein platform, which delivers AI-powered analytics for sales and marketing, and “Customer 360,” which manages customer data across Salesforce apps.

The all-stock acquisition of Tableau is the largest in Salesforce’s history. Management believes the combination will “deliver the most intelligent and intuitive analytics and visualization platform for every department and every user at any company.”

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Under the terms of the deal, each share of Tableau Class A and Class B common stock will be exchanged for 1.103 shares of Salesforce, representing an enterprise value of $15.7 billion and a premium of more than 30% over Tableau’s market value of $10.8 billion as of the previous stock market close.

“Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a news release. “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 trading Monday, Salesforce shares fell 5.8% to $151.85. Wedbush Securities analyst Steve Koenig told CNBC that investors may be concerned Salesforce could be looking to acquisitions to fuel its growth rather than growing its business organically.

Seattle-based Tableau, which was founded in 2003, provides data visualization tools to about 86,000 business customers, including Charles Schwab, Verizon, Schneider Electric, Southwest, and Netflix. According to IDC, worldwide spending on technologies and services that enable digital transformation will reach $1.8 trillion in 2022.

“If you can find the key data nuggets in the big data pile, it can clearly be a competitive advantage, and companies like Google and Salesforce are pulling out their checkbooks to make sure they are in a position to help you out,” TechCrunch said.

GeekWire said the acquisition of Tableau is likely to increase the competition between Salesforce and Microsoft, which offers the Power BI data visualization and business intelligence technology.