Salesforce bets on big data with $15.3 billion Tableau buy

(Reuters) - (Corrects paragraph 14 and 15 of this June 10 story to say Tableau deal is expected to cut Salesforce’s 2020 adjusted EPS by about 20-22 cents, not 37- 39 cents. Adjusted EPS is now expected to be $2.68-$2.70, not $2.51-$2.53, after the company clarified. The errors also appeared in earlier updates.) Inc agreed on Monday to buy big data firm Tableau Software Inc for $15.3 billion, adding muscle in its fight with Microsoft Corp for a bigger share of the market that helps businesses target customers with tools to analyze and visualize data.

The business of analyzing data is fast becoming a battleground, with tech behemoths Alphabet Inc’s Google and Inc scaling up their presence in the market to take on established players like Microsoft and Tableau.

“The deal is transformative for the software industry, the most dramatic move yet by a cloud major to boost its analytics offerings,” Wedbush Securities analyst Steve Koenig said.

Salesforce’s customer relationship management software will benefit from using Tableau’s large data analytics in unraveling hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends and customer preferences.

Tableau’s software is used to create interactive, visual dashboards and graphics used by businesses, universities and governments to analyze data ranging from corporate finances to baseball statistics.

Salesforce’s biggest deal ever comes days after Google bought big-data analytics company Looker for $2.6 billion. It surpasses the $5.9 billion that Salesforce paid to buy U.S. software maker MuleSoft in 2018.

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for is displayed on the Salesforce Tower in New York City, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

In 2016, Reuters had reported here that Seattle-based Tableau was one of the companies in a leaked list of potential acquisition targets for Salesforce and that Tableau was working with an investment bank to explore a sale.

Tableau has more than 86,000 customers, including tech heavyweights such as Verizon Communications Inc and Netflix Inc.

“The acquisition accelerates Salesforce’s roadmap for (its) Customer 360 initiative, which helps companies gain a complete view of their customers, and more broadly their analytics initiative,” Koenig said.

Tableau shareholders will get 1.103 Salesforce shares for each Tableau share in the all-stock deal, valuing the offer at $177.88 per share as of Friday’s close, a 42% premium as of that time.

Shares of Tableau jumped 38% to touch a record high of $173.09, while those of Salesforce fell nearly 6% in afternoon trading.

Brian White, analyst at Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co, said he believed the share drop would be short-lived, given Salesforce’s capitalization on major tech trends of subscription and cloud services.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, after which Tableau will operate independently, led by Chief Executive Officer Adam Selipsky and its current leadership team.

The San Francisco-based company said the deal is likely to add up to $400 million in its 2020 revenue, but would decrease adjusted profit by about 20 cents to 22 cents per share.

Salesforce said it now expects 2020 adjusted profit in the range of $2.68 per share to $2.70 per share. Analysts were expecting $2.90 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch was the financial adviser to Salesforce and Goldman Sachs & Co LLC advised Tableau.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Maju Samuel