For weeks, rumors in the technology world have been swirling about a potential acquisition of Salesforce. Some reports cited SAP as a potential buyer, though SAP denied those claims earlier this month. Others claimed Microsoft could be a candidate.
The most recent reports, however, are changing the game. The software giant revealed Tuesday (May 12) that it has teamed up with accounting and payroll software vendor Sage, based in the U.K. The news sparked new buyout rumors, though this time, Salesforce could be the acquirer, not the acquired.
In its announcement, Salesforce said the Sage partnership is part of its efforts to further expand its cloud computing tools to SMEs in addition to the larger companies it services. “Today is by far the most exciting day ever for our platform,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in an announcement of the collaboration, “and it’s also an exciting day for small businesses because those two things get to come together for the first time.”
Their joint-venture has resulted in the creation of a new tool called Sage Life, which will run on the Salesforce platform. The offering lets SMEs gain insight into payroll, accounting, customer and financial data from their desktop and mobile devices. Sage services a wide range of business customers across both the U.K. and U.S., so the new tool has the potential to reach millions, reports said.
According to Sage CEO Stephen Kelly, SMEs use an average of between four and eight software tools to run their enterprises. According to Kelly, Sage Life will be as vital to companies as the iPod was for consumers when it first came out. Sage Life, he added, will easily integrate into companies’ existing operations and tools, and will offer real-time data, providing greater incentive for SMEs to transfer their operations to the cloud.
Meanwhile, Benioff remained mum on any Salesforce mergers that could be in the works. “I can’t comment on the rumors,” he said when asked about a potential deal, “of course, because that’s just the nature of M&A rumors.”