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What was the purpose of Salesforce's MuleSoft acquisition?

Salesforce completed the acquisition of MuleSoft in May 2018, gaining large customers, such as Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch, and adding beneficial technology to its platform.

Salesforce has acquisition fever, laying claim to smaller companies at a prodigious rate -- almost 50 over the past decade. But the recent MuleSoft acquisition is one of the biggest buys yet.

Large companies buy smaller ones for two reasons: to quickly obtain their technology -- saving development time -- and to plunder their customer list.

Salesforce's acquisition of MuleSoft killed two birds with one stone, acquiring both a beneficial technology and the company's large customer base.

  • Technology: MuleSoft's specialty is integration -- linking the corporate IT infrastructure of one company to that of others and unifying apps and databases into global B2B systems. This potentially moves Salesforce to the head of the enterprise cloud pack, making it easy to incorporate Salesforce functionality into existing business systems. The gem at the center of the technology is Anypoint, an API platform/library to design and consolidate interfaces, with management support and a runtime engine. Anypoint cuts out the need for custom integration code, which Salesforce is rebranding as Integration Cloud -- to be released in spring 2019. It also enables more fluid data exchange among the various Salesforce clouds.
  • Customers: MuleSoft customers include large corporations such as Barclays, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Target, Anheuser-Busch, Cisco, GE, eBay, Netflix, Wells Fargo, Office Depot/Max and 100 others.
Salesforce acquisitions chart

The initial public offering for MuleSoft stock went live in March 2017. Salesforce completed its acquisition in May 2018. The total deal was worth $6.5 billion, part cash and part stock, making it the largest acquisition in company history. Prior to the MuleSoft acquisition, Salesforce's annual revenue was about $300 million, with its assets totaling about $500 million.

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