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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.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.