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The stock plummeted as much as 8% during the session before paring losses and closing down 5.26%. Salesforce announced Monday it would purchase data visualization firm Tableau for $15.3 billion in stock.
"Tableau didn't want our cash — they wanted our equity, because they know that the real value here is in the company that we're creating together," Benioff told Jim Cramer in an interview. "We would have been more than happy to give them any currency they wanted, but ultimately they want our stock and, hey, I can't blame them."
Salesforce, which offers a cloud-based customer relationship management platform, is finding strong growth in helping clients in digital transformation. Benioff said the merger between the two software companies helps his company complete the third leg to support that segment.
The first two cornerstones, he said, are the customer and data integration, which was aided by the company's $6.5 billion purchase of Mulesoft in 2018. Tableau fulfills the need for analytics and visualization that companies need to track business operations.
"There's no more amazing company in that category than Tableau, whose mission is to make sure that the world can see and understand data, and that is what excites us, as well," Benioff said.
Salesforce's stock price fell more than $8 during the session after investors learned that the Tableau deal would put a dent in its fiscal 2020 earnings.
Tableau, on the other hand, saw its shares touch an all-time high of $173.37 before settling around $167. The stock gained 33.70% in the session.