watching Elon Musk and others tried to buy Twitter and made me think about the time when Salesforce wanted to buy the social media platform.
In 2016, around the time of Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, rumors circulated that the company was willing to spend $20 billion to buy Twitter. It would eventually pull back if investors foreclosed.
Salesforce was a much smaller company back then, and the deal would have been a huge chunk. Perhaps the company’s interest stemmed from the fact that Microsoft recently bought LinkedIn for $26 billion, and Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff wanted to add a social component to his cloud CRM business.
Other companies were reportedly interested at the time, including Microsoft, Google, and Verizon (the owner of Marketingwithanoy at the time). But Salesforce came out of the pack as the most interested buyer.
Why Tweet? The idea was to combine the social component of Twitter with sales and service on the Salesforce platform. But it wasn’t to be, which the company made official on October 14, 2016, when Benioff told the Financial Times it wasn’t the right choice.
In hindsight, it was probably better for Salesforce to succeed, as the vendor was already busy enough. Holger Mueller, Analyst at Constellation Research
Salesforce would eventually buy Mulesoft in 2018 for $6.5 billion and Tableau for $15.7 billion in 2019, two deals worth nearly as much and arguably a much better fit for the CRM giant than Twitter would have been.
Twitter thus remained an independent platform and until recently there was little interest in mergers and acquisitions.
But what if history turned out a little differently and Salesforce took over the company? We spoke to some analysts covering the CRM industry to get their thoughts.
For starters, Salesforce investors didn’t like the idea, and Benioff eventually had to acquiesce. Brent Leary, founder and principal analyst at CRM Essentials, said investors opposed the deal.
“I think at the time it was hard to justify the price tag, but I always thought the right buyer could have done something important with Twitter,” he said. “Had Salesforce pulled the trigger, it would have been interesting to see what that combination could have done, especially now that Salesforce+ (the company’s media arm) is in the mix.”