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The data analytics race has just taken a very interesting turn with the news that Salesforce is buying Tableau in an all-stock deal worth around $15.7 billion.

The deal, which is expected to close by October of this year, brings together two giants of the enterprise world: Salesforce, a customer-relationship management (CRM) platform, and Tableau, which helps companies make sense of their vast pools of data by integrating with various sources — including CRM tools such as Salesforce. According to a Tableau FAQ, it will continue to support non-Salesforce CRM products post-acquisition.

“We are bringing together the world’s number one CRM with the number one analytics platform,” said Salesforce chair and co-CEO Marc Benioff in a press release. “Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers. It’s truly the best of both worlds for our customers — bringing together two critical platforms that every customer needs to understand their world.”

Going private

Founded in 2003, Tableau went public back in 2013, and it has generally been performing well on the stock market over the past few years. Its share price hit an all-time high of $136 earlier this year, though it has been sitting at closer to $120 over the past month, which is still significantly over its IPO price. Salesforce used Tableau’s three-day average price leading up to June 7 to reach its valuation, with its purchase price representing a premium of around 50% on its current market capitalization.


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With this move, Salesforce is continuing to expand beyond its core CRM offering and deeper into the lucrative data visualization sphere. The company said it plans to pair Tableau with its AI-infused Einstein automation platform to deliver “the most intelligent and intuitive analytics and visualization platform” for every department inside any company. Tableau will also be used to enhance Salesforce’s Customer 360, a service launched last year to unify cross-channel customer experiences.

“Joining forces with Salesforce will enhance our ability to help people everywhere see and understand data,” added Tableau president and CEO Adam Selipsky. “As part of the world’s number one CRM company, Tableau’s intuitive and powerful analytics will enable millions more people to discover actionable insights across their entire organizations.”

The timing of Salesforce’s announcement is notable, coming just days after Google revealed it was buying Tableau rival Looker for $2.6 billion. Other players in the field include Sisense, which raised $80 million last year, and Qlik, which followed Tableau’s route back to the private sphere by selling itself to Thoma Bravo for $3 billion in 2016. Salesforce was reportedly gearing up to buy Tableau that same year, though nothing came to fruition at the time.

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