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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce on Tuesday afternoon said the company will pay $27.7 billion in cash and stock to buy workplace collaboration platform Slack.

Why it matters: This is the largest software merger since IBM agreed to buy Red Hat in late 2018, and it creates a cloud giant that can better compete with Microsoft.

Details: Slack shareholders will receive the equivalent of $45.86 per share, including $26.79 in cash, which represents a 55% premium to Slack's trading price before news of the pending deal leaked.

  • Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield will continue to lead the company.
  • The deal is slated to close in the middle of next year, pending Slack shareholder and regulatory approval.
  • Shares of Salesforce dipped slightly after Tuesday's announcement, changing hands recently at $233.81, down $7.80, or about 3%. Slack shares were largely unchanged, trading recently at $43.80, down 11 cents, or 0.25%.

Between the lines:

  • Salesforce has been eyeing an acquisition that would boost its usage throughout a company versus being limited to specific departments. It previously eyed Twitter and also made a bid for LinkedIn, though Microsoft ended up with the winning offer on that deal.
  • Slack has managed to do quite well on its own, but faces increasing competition, especially from Microsoft, which is able to offer its Teams product as part of a larger bundle — something Slack would have trouble doing on its own.

What's next: The deal still needs regulatory approval as well as the official OK from Slack shareholders. Salesforce noted in its press release announcing the deal that it has already secured the support of Slack shareholders, representing 55% of shares.

Go deeper: Salesforce rolls the dice on Slack

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Dec 16, 2020 - Technology

Tech's hidden hand in the vaccine rollout

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Technology companies including IBM, Oracle, and Salesforce are working with governments and health agencies to manage the massive task of rapidly distributing the COVID-19 vaccines.

Why it matters: It's critical to make sure the limited supply of vaccines is distributed equitably and without wasting precious doses.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
24 mins ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

24 mins ago - Science

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

Ingenuity on the surface of Mars, filmed by NASA's Perseverance rover. Photo: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hopping the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.