B2B Trending Conversations: Salesforce’s $4 billion buying spree

Salesforce founder Mark Benioff
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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff will have plenty to talk about at Dreamforce next month, having presided over an epic $4 billion shopping spree in which the cloud computing giant has snapped up around a dozen companies in the past year.  Acquisitions range from the $2.8 billion Demandware deal, the largest such purchase Salesforce has made to date, to HeyWire, a startup that makes it easy for companies to deliver messages. While some analysts, observers and investors are worried by the Salesforce’s prolific buying binge, others are excited by the company’s growth. This week B2B Trending Conversations brings you the buzz on Salesforce’s unprecedented wheeling ad dealing, with an eye toward next month’s big Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. See you there!

Salesforce buys HeyWire

On Wednesday, Salesforce announced it had agreed to a deal to purchase HeyWire, the world’s first mobile messaging cloud provider. “It’s only fitting that we join Salesforce, the company that pioneered the shift to enterprise cloud computing,” wrote HeyWire founder and CEO Meredith Flynn-Ripley after the deal was announced. “The team and I are thrilled to join Salesforce once the transaction closes and to ushering in new levels of customer engagement through conversational messaging within the Salesforce Service Cloud.” HeyWire  said it will bring a new communications channel to Salesforce Service Cloud “with fully integrated mobile messaging capabilities that enable companies to connect with their customers in entirely new ways.”

Salesforce buys GravityTank

Salesforce continued its $4 billion acquisition tear by announcing it had purchased Chicago-based consultancy agency Gravitytank on Wednesday. According to Business Insider, Benioff may not be done yet — the CEO has hinted that acquisitions could continue through the end of the year. “This M&A window, I talked about that I think on the last call, openly in the press, seems to have opened for the year,” he said. “I think it will probably close, probably at the end of this calendar year. But it’s been incredible time for us to acquire some phenomenal assets.”

Investors worried by breakneck pace of Salesforce acquisitions

The unprecedented pace of Salesforce’s buying binge has got some investors spooked, as Eugene Kim notes in this Business Insider article. Among those concerned is Macquarie Research, which believes Salesforce might have some explaining to do. “Salesforce’s recent M&A activity has inspired a wave of speculation in the press about who Salesforce may acquire next, making many investors uneasy about the company’s direction despite particularly little substantial news from the company,” it writes. “We are therefore looking for Salesforce to provide clarification on its M&A strategy during its upcoming conference call, which we believe would reassure investors about management’s M&A discipline.”

Benioff explains acquisitions

While some investors may be concerned about Salesforce’s $4 billion acquisition tear, CEO Marc Benioff certainly does not share their worries. We return to Business Insider’s Eugene Kim,  who reports the intrepid CEO explained what Salesforce is up to during Wednesday’s earnings call.

“We came into this year and we didn’t really have M&A on our forecast,” he said. “But then there were some pretty big changes that happened in the market … It’s been an incredible time for us to acquire some phenomenal assets, and I’ve never been more excited about Salesforce and our pipeline.” Benioff said Salesforce’s unsuccessful attempt to purchase LinkedIn really opened him up to the idea of acquisitions. Although Microsoft ultimately emerged triumphant in the bid for LinkedIn, “it really triggered our process because all of a sudden a great company that is a unique asset, that’s strategic, was available at a great price.”

Dreamforce 2016

Pratyush Kumar at Algoworks is, like many B2B professionals, pumped for Dreamforce, which starts in San Francisco in about three weeks. Kumar offers this helpful highlight guide for the greatest cloud computing show on Earth, which lists some of the most popular sessions, biggest keynote speakers — this year’s all-star lineup includes Melinda Gates, Patricia Arquette, Deborah Duggan and Billie Jean King — and even the lowdown on the party scene — there’s a rumor that Justin Bieber will join U2 at the big show. Have a productive and fun Dreamforce; you can look forward to B2B News Network’s coverage of the seminal event.

That’s it for B2B Trending Conversations this week. We’ll be back again in seven days with all the B2B buzz that’s fit to tweet. As always, if you have any B2B content or ideas you think we should focus on next week, let us know via @b2bnewsnetwork. We love hearing from you!

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Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for U.S. news. Based in San Francisco, he is the editor and publisher of Moral Low Ground and is a Yahoo! Featured Political Contributor.