Salesforce Buys Slack, Its SoMa Neighbor

Slack employees need only travel across the rooftop park of the Salesforce Transit Center to reach the offices of their new corporate overlords.

The company that nobody understands has bought the company that lets its users share party parrot emojis. The price: $27.7 billion. 

Software giant Salesforce’s acquisition of the workplace messaging platform Slack is yet another sign of the continued strength of San Francisco’s tech economy. The deal values Slack at 55 percent greater than its Wall Street valuation. 

Both companies are based in SoMa, on either side of the Salesforce Transit Center and park. 

Slack will continue to operate as an independent division of Salesforce, led by CEO Stewart Butterfield, who co-founded the company in 2013, after co-founding the photo sharing service Flickr. 

Following its launch, Slack rapidly became a popular workplace collaboration tool for companies and organizations. Slack has been known to create something of its own culture at the companies where it’s in use, fostering a more casual tone among colleagues and encouraging self-expression via gifs, emojis, and message reactions. The non hierarchical structure of the platform appears to have played a role in the reckonings over racial injustice at several companies, including Pinterest and the New York Times. 

Slack has also been criticized for enabling work-related messaging at all hours of the day. And the ease with which each user can start a chat room can make for an overwhelming deluge of content on the platform. 

Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack appears to be a big bet on the continued viability of remote work. In a press release announcing the sale, Salesforce wrote, “The events of this year have greatly accelerated the move by companies and governments to an all-digital world, where work happens wherever people are.” 

Translation: Get used to those party parrot emojis. 

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