Published on Jul 15, 2021
DOJ is poised to clear Salesforce’s (CRM) proposed $27.7 billion acquisition of Slack (WORK) by the end of this month, sources familiar with the matter said.
After an in-depth review in which the department demanded extensive business records from the merging parties and sent to multiple third parties civil investigative demands (CIDs) seeking documents and data, DOJ has concluded that the transaction won’t result in antitrust harm.
Some deal critics had complained to the agency that the merger would give Salesforce the ability and incentive to degrade messaging service Slack’s integrations with rival customer relationship management (CRM) software suites. That could in turn harm rivals’ ability to compete and cement Salesforce’s CRM market leadership, deal critics said.
But in recent weeks, DOJ staff has stopped reaching out to third parties for additional input, several sources said.
Salesforce has said for months that it expects the deal, announced December 1, to close late in its second fiscal quarter, which ends July 30. But the administration’s skepticism of Big Tech and aggressive antitrust enforcement posture, most recently shown by President Joe Biden last week signing a sweeping anti-monopoly executive order, led to some market concerns that the Slack transaction was now caught in the government’s crosshairs.
The agency issued second requests to Salesforce and Slack on February 16 after the companies initially pulled and refiled their merger notifications in mid-January with the aim of avoiding an in-depth review.
DOJ clearance represents the deal’s final outstanding antitrust hurdle to close. The merger in March won antitrust approvals in Germany and Austria, and in recent months also won antitrust sign-offs from agencies in Australia and Japan.
A DOJ spokesperson declined to comment. Spokespeople for Salesforce and Slack didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.