Analytics Market Consolidation Continues with Salesforce Acquisition of Tableau for $15.7 Billion

Following closely on the heels of Google’s announced $2.6 billion acquisition of Looker, Salesforce, a provider of CRM software, said yesterday that it is acquiring Tableau Software, a provider of self-service analytics and data visualization software.

Salesforce will acquire Tableau in an all-stock transaction, pursuant to which each share of Tableau Class A and Class B common stock will be exchanged for 1.103 shares of Salesforce common stock, representing an enterprise value of $15.7 billion (net of cash), based on the trailing 3-day volume weighted average price of Salesforce's shares as of June 7, 2019.

Commenting on the Salesforce-Tableau deal, Satyen Sangani, CEO of data cataloging company Alation, a close partner of both Salesforce and Tableau with deep integrations and shared customers, said that the acquisition makes sense and is a major win for the industry, customers, and analytics users at large.

"There has long been chaos in the analytics ecosystem given the volume and scale of innovation over the last decade," said Sangani. "Tableau, Mulesoft, and Salesforce will collectively help customers with some of their biggest challenges in integrating the data. As a partner of both Salesforce and Tableau with deep integrations with Salesforce Einstein Analytics and Tableau Server, we have seen that both companies are committed to building greater trust in analytics and bringing greater agility to self-service analytics.” 

Hugh Owen, SVP of product at BI and analytics vendor MicroStrategy also commented on what the acquisition will mean for the business intelligence community.

“While the industry is likely to see more consolidation, new entrants, and new offerings, analytics continues to be integral for digital transformation no matter where companies are positioned along that journey.  It’s clear that both Salesforce and Google Cloud are very aware of the value that BI and analytics can bring," said Owen. According to MicroStrategy, the challenge for Salesforce and Google will be how integrating the acquired companies quickly and smoothly.  “While they’re focused on the integration, there’s no doubt the rest of the industry will continue to focus on innovation and new customer acquisition."

Eva Murray, head of BI at Exasol, expressed concern for the future with the opinion that "Tableau is a great tool," but what makes it "truly exceptional" is the community around it.

"I hope that Salesforce understands that, and protects the wonderful Tableau community. In my opinion, customers and power-users need to be looked after, and not come second-place behind shareholders," said Murray. "So, even though it may not be an obvious revenue generator, things like Tableau Public bring data and analytics closer to everyone and helps us Zen Masters and other power-users share the love for data analytics and visualizations, ultimately helping us grow the community and the Tableau fan-base. I also hope that the R&D and innovation that have made Tableau better and better over the years will not slow down or be re-prioritized. I would love to see Salesforce continue to invest in innovation and development of Tableau’s core product, and not take it down a CRM-only road.”

More than 86,000 organizations around the world, such as Charles Schwab, Verizon, Schneider Electric, Southwest and Netflix, rely on Tableau for analytics and data visualization.

Salesforce stated that, as part of its company,Tableau will be positioned to scale and further its mission to help people see and understand data. Following the acquisition close, Tableau will operate independently under the Tableau brand, driving forward a continued focus on its mission, customers and community. Tableau will remain headquartered in Seattle, Wash., and will continue to be led by CEO Adam Selipsky and the current leadership team.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

Under the terms of the transaction, Salesforce will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Tableau. The acquisition of Tableau is expected to be completed during Salesforce’s fiscal third quarter ending October 31, 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.