Stanford spinout Tableau Software has agreed to a $15.7bn all-stock acquisition by Salesforce, six years after completing a $254m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

Tableau, a US-based data visualisation and analytics spinout of Stanford University, agreed to an acquisition by enterprise software producer Salesforce for $15.7bn on Monday.
The all-stock transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and is expected to be completed during Salesforce’s fiscal third quarter ending October 31. The merger is subject to customary closing conditions.
Tableau had a $10.79bn market cap on Friday, when the deal was inked. Trading of the stock has been halted in light of the acquisition news.
Founded in 2003, Tableau Software has developed data visualisation technology capable of extracting data from a wide range of sources, including relational databases, spreadsheets and cloud databases, in order to generate graphs.
The company’s underlying technology, VizQL, was developed at Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science between 1999 and 2002 by Pat Hanrahan, the Canon USA professor of computer science and electrical engineering, together with Chris Stolte, then a PhD candidate in computer science, and MBA student Christian Chabot.
Tableau had raised $47m in equity funding from New Enterprise Associates and Meritech Capital Partners by the time it filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, which it completed with $254m in proceeds in 2013.
Following the acquisition by Salesforce, the company will remain headquartered in Seattle and continue to be led by the current leadership team, including Adam Selipsky.
Salesforce expects the combination of its artificial intelligence-based sales data processing platform Einstein and Tableau’s capabilities will solidify its leadership position in the digital transformation of businesses.
Marc Benioff, chairman and co-chief executive of Salesforce, said: “We are bringing together the world’s number one customer relationship management with the number one analytics platform.
“Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers. It is truly the best of both worlds for our customers – bringing together two critical platforms that every customer needs to understand their world.
“I am thrilled to welcome Adam and his team to Salesforce.”
It is unclear whether Stanford University retained any shares in the spinout.

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).