Tableau, ServiceNow, Veea, Hubspot: What do these four companies have in common? According to the Wall Street Journal, they could all be targets for acquisition by Salesforce. Maybe.
A Salesforce presentation dated May 2016 reveals a list of more than a dozen companies Salesforce may have had an interest in acquiring, according to the Journal. The slides were found in a collection of emails of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, leaked earlier this year. Powell sits on Salesforce's board of directors.
Salesforce declined to comment on any speculation in the wake of the Journal article, noting that the appearance of company names on the list doesn't imply Salesforce ever intended to acquire them. "Salesforce has a disciplined and thoughtful M&A process where we routinely survey the industry landscape across a wide range of companies, but acquire very few," the company said in a statement.
Some of the companies mentioned in the 60-slide document can be ruled out as potential future Salesforce acquisitions. LinkedIn, for example, has already been acquired by Microsoft. Salesforce acquired Demandware in June. And Adobe, a Salesforce representative told the Journal, was included in the slides only to contextualize other potential acquisitions.
While a lot of companies listed in the presentation can be tossed into the "not happening" or "already happened" piles, others remain best described as: ???
Here are some companies for which we can't completely rule out the potential Salesforce will absorb them.
- Tableau--This data visualization company was given a code name in the slides of "Tuscany." The Journal notes that four companies were code named after famous wine-making regions, including LinkedIn and Demandware.
- ServiceNow--This enterprise cloud company also received a code name: Sonoma.
- Veeva--The Journal doesn't delve much into the likelihood of Salesforce acquiring this cloud-based software company, and the slides don't provide special notes. Veeva has a partnership with Salesforce that is slated to end in 2025. Reached by Inc. for comment, Veeva vice president of corporate communications Roger Villareal said, "While we don't comment on other's plans, we can tell you we remain focused on building the industry cloud for life sciences and creating a multi-billion dollar company over the long-term. Industry cloud is one of the largest categories of the enterprise software market with significant potential, as many customers migrate from aging legacy systems." That's not an outright no!
- Hubspot--This marketing technology company integrates with Salesforce. Salesforce acquired Hubspot competitor ExactTarget a few years ago. Hubspot declined to comment to Inc.
- Workday--This HR software company is not ruled out, but nor does it look like a likely acquisition. The Journal points out a slide note on the company stating "less interested," without indicating which party lacks interest.
- Pegasystems -- This software company told the Journal, "While flattering to appear on another organization's acquisition target list, we have not had any discussions with Salesforce on the topic of acquisition." A slide note says "meeting in June."
- Box Inc.--Another "maybe, but probably not." A slide note for this cloud storage company says "CEO has no interest."
- Zendesk--Same deal with this customer service software company. "CEO has no interest," reads the slide.