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Few Salesforce acquisitions in 2020, plus deal to buy Slack

While Salesforce acquired only four companies in 2020, the CRM giant also entered an agreement to acquire Slack -- its largest purchase yet -- which won't be complete until 2021.

Few Salesforce acquisitions in 2020, plus deal to buy Slack

While it's not yet a done deal, Salesforce entered an agreement to acquire business communication platform Slack for $27.7 billion -- the company's biggest acquisition news of 2020.

Slack -- positioned as a business operations system -- will serve as the new interface for Salesforce's Customer 360 platform. It will enable employees across different departments -- using different Salesforce clouds -- to communicate with each other through a single interface. This will be Salesforce's largest acquisition ever, topping the $15.7 billion purchase of Tableau in 2019. Salesforce plans to complete the Slack acquisition by summer 2021.

Salesforce is trying to compete with Microsoft as a business platform that organizations want to use, said Liz Miller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

"If you can suddenly turn your sales team into a group that's selling Slack and Customer 360, you become the elephant in the room that can take on Microsoft," Miller said.

The Slack news rounded out an otherwise quiet year on the Salesforce acquisitions front. The CRM giant hit the pause button on acquisitions in 2020 shortly after its top purchase of the year -- Vlocity, at a price of $1.33 billion -- in February.

The shift became a major focus to help Salesforce customers -- and new prospects -- react and respond to the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, Miller said. There was also a significant focus on integrating products from past acquisitions, such as Tableau.

"A pause in acquisitions in 2020 gave Salesforce the opportunity to really look under the hood and better understand how integrations should be happening to map and track to how customers want to work and how they need to deliver," Miller said.

Other completed 2020 acquisitions include Evergage for $100 million, Mobify for $60 million and The CMO Club.

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