Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) is under pressure from activist investors, including Elliott Management, Starboard Value and Inclusive Capital due to lagging performance. As such, it’s possible the Marc Benioff-led company could be forced to cut headcount further or even sell some assets, investment firm RBC Capital said.
“Now having multiple activists involved, we could see increased pressure on Salesforce to commit further to profitability, perhaps with more layoffs, or management changes,” analyst Rishi Jaluria, who has an outperform rating on the stock, wrote in a note to clients.
Earlier this month, Salesforce (CRM) announced it was cutting 10% of its headcount, incurring between $1.4B and $2.1B in charges related to the reduction.
In addition, Jaluria noted that the company could be forced to sell some “non-core assets,” mentioning recent acquisitions such as Slack, Tableau, MuleSoft or Heroku as possibilities.
Jaluria noted that Slack is now margin accretive, with expectations that it will generate 30% year-over-year revenue growth in fiscal 2023 to $1.54B, along with 6% non-GAAP operating margins. For comparison purposes, the proxy statement forecast that as a standalone business, Slack would have generated $1.56B in revenue and 10% in non-GAAP operating margins, leaving Jaluria to surmise that Benioff is “disappointed” with Slack’s performance.
Late last year, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield announced he was leaving the company amid several other key executive departures.
However, if Slack were sold now, it would be for much less than the $28B Salesforce (CRM) paid for the company.
“Given the much different market environment, intense competition from Microsoft Teams, and the current financial profile (30% growth, mid-single-digit margins), we think Slack would be valued at ~6x EV/CY23E revenue (in line with our Rule of 30-40 peer group), implying an $11-12B valuation,” Jaluria wrote in the note.
In addition, Jaluria suggested that MuleSoft, which is believed to be worth more than the $6.5B Salesforce (CRM) paid for it, could also be shopped. Heroku and ClickSoftware were also posited as potential divestitures, as Jaluria said these areas of the company “would not disrupt Salesforce’s core clouds.”
On Monday, Wedbush Securities reiterated that Salesforce (CRM) is one of its top picks for 2023.