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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.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

🚨: Japan's Naomi Osaka lights Olympic cauldron; Photos

👻: How the no-spectator Olympics could affect the athletes

🇺🇸: "What an honor it is to watch you soar," first lady tells U.S. Olympians

🌏: Meet the underdogs from Latin America

🥇: The six new sports at Tokyo 2020

💉 About 100 U.S. Olympic athletes are unvaccinated

✍️ Axios at the Olympics: What it's like inside the opening ceremony

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Senate Democrats demand answers on FBI's Kavanaugh probe

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are demanding that the FBI hand over "all records and communications" related to the FBI tip line set up to investigate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a nominee in 2018.

Why it matters: The ask comes after the FBI revealed it received more than 4,500 tips about Kavanaugh when he was awaiting Senate confirmation amid sexual assault allegations. Only the most "relevant" of these tips were forwarded to the Trump White House.