Salesforce.com is for sale, some reports say. No wait—there aren't any buyers, say others.
If Silicon Valley had a say in this, most parties—especially start-ups—would prefer the latter outcome, chiefly because the disappearance of one of the largest business software companies would significantly shrink the pool of potential start-up buyers.
Salesforce is a local darling. Over the past 16 years, navigating through multiple financial and economic crises, founder and CEO Marc Benioff has grown the company from a niche developer of Web-based customer relationship management software to the pioneer of a massive category called software as a service (SaaS).
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"Silicon Valley is always rooting for the new generation trying to do things differently," said Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, a Redwood City, California-based cloud software start-up that's backed by Salesforce's venture arm. "Nobody is a better poster child of that than Marc Benioff."
Since Bloomberg reported in late April that Salesforce hired financial advisers to field takeover-related calls, the pool of potential buyers has seemingly evaporated. Among the few companies that have the market capitalization to do the deal, SAP, Oracle and Microsoft have all reportedly said that they're not interested.