Salesforce May Be Up for Sale

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This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine

Salesforce.com stock was halted on Wednesday afternoon, following a Bloomberg report that the company “is working with financial advisers to help it field takeover offers after being approached by a potential acquirer.” The cloud software giant’s shares had spiked 12% prior to the circuit breaker being tripped.

There were no details on the suitor’s identity, although speculation is already running rampant that this could be the first game-changing move for Satya Nadella since taking over last year as CEO of Microsoft. Also worth remembering that, prior to being named CEO, Nadella led Microsoft’s cloud business.

Other possibilities include IBM and Oracle, the latter of which today sold $10 billion of new bonds. Bloomberg also suggests SAP, although a source familiar with the situation says that it is not in the mix. An alternate outcome could be that Salesforce itself makes a major acquisition play, such as for WorkDay or Adobe.

Another source says that large software companies have always considered Salesforce to be “available” for a particularly high premium, but that an outstanding issue is where CEO Marc Benioff would fall in a combined company’s hierarchy. At Oracle, for example, would Benioff be expected to work under co-CEOs Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, or perhaps take both of their jobs?

Salesforce has a market cap of more than $43 billion, with just around $2 billion of debt on its books.

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