Report: Salesforce Spurned Microsoft’s $55 Billion Takeover BidReport: Salesforce Spurned Microsoft’s $55 Billion Takeover Bid
Microsoft reportedly offered $55 billion for rival Salesforce but its founder and chief executive Marc Benioff spurned the bid in seeking $70 billion for the CRM cloud services provider.
May 27, 2015
Early this spring Microsoft (MSFT) reportedly offered $55 billion for rival Salesforce (CRM) but its founder and chief executive Marc Benioff spurned the bid in seeking $70 billion for the CRM cloud services provider.
CNBC reported that the buyout discussions, which apparently progressed to a serious level, broke down over price and the companies have not met since. Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella was said to be hesitant to sign on to a deal of that magnitude.
By most measurements, the $70 billion price tag for Salesforce would have been outsized, to say the least. As Forbes pointed out, $70 billion amounts to about $103 a share or a 40 percent premium over Salesforce’s $73.57 per share price as of May 26; and, $70 billion would be 13 times Salesforce’s fiscal 2015 revenue of $5.37 billion. By comparison, Microsoft is trading at 4 times revenue.
Word emerged at the beginning of May that Microsoft was mulling over bidding for Salesforce after learning that another potential suitor approached the CRM provider. Microsoft was mentioned along with IT heavyweights Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), IBM (IBM), Oracle (ORCL) and SAP (SAP) as likely suitors possibly vying to take over Salesforce.com.
Salesforce was said to have hired two investment bankers to help it handle and evaluate takeover offers, ranging from spurning bids to hammering out a deal.
The CNBC report contradicts accounts from two weeks ago that said Microsoft had yet to bid for Salesforce.
Still, that report fueled a feeding frenzy on Salesforce’s stock, driving the company’s market capitalization north of $49 billion, where it still stands. Salesforce’s stock, which closed trading on Tuesday, May 26 at $73.57, has run up 35 percent in the past 12 months.
A year ago, Microsoft and Salesforce worked out a deal that allows customers to access Salesforce.com and run operations from Windows-based systems and devices.
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