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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff addresses Twitter rumours, LinkedIn concerns, Brexit and Larry Ellison’s sensitivity in an investor Q&A at Dreamforce

Scott Carey | Oct. 7, 2016
Fresh from his keynote address at Dreamforce this year the Salesforce CEO looked to address investor concerns, including those Twitter bid rumours

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff jumped into an investor question and answer session minutes after his Dreamforce keynote today to discuss Twitter rumours, the impact of Brexit on earnings and concerns around Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn.

Twitter rumours

Benioff was asked off the bat about rumours that Salesforce is considering a bid for the social network Twitter. Despite saying he would address them direct, his lengthy response didn't mention the social network by name once.

What he did say was: "I have read the stories and what's unfortunate is that usually when we are brought into a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) process rarely do you guys even know about it. In this case there have been big leaks and that has been unfortunate so we have to address it, so I want to directly address it."

"Number one is we look at a lot of companies, we look at a lot of things and pass on almost everything."

"We are extremely disciplined in what we do and how we buy [...] I think our history and track record is better than anyone. Not every deal has been perfect, but the vast majority of cases we either got great people, great technology or a great business and in best cases we get all three."

Furthermore, in three separate statements he stated: "We have to look at this, it gives us so many ideas and visions for the future."

"I think it's a great brand and I wish Jack [Dorsey, Twitter CEO] all the best with his company."

"You probably want a definitive yes or no answer, but unfortunately life doesn't work that way."

When questioned if customers have been asking him about the "spectre of Twitter", Benioff said: "The honest answer is I have had 200 one-to-one conversations with customers this month and not a single one has asked me about Twitter. Every reporter has and obviously it is on your minds, but not a single customer has asked me. It's not why they are here."


When asked what he looks for in these sort of big-name acquisitions Benioff was more succinct: "They are once in a lifetime trades, so you better be damn sure. These are marquee, monopolistic trades and once they trade they are gone."

"We got one with Demandware. There are people that are pissed that they didn't get it. We didn't start the process and we got lucky, frankly. I still don't know how we ended up with it." Demandware now forms the backbone of Salesforce's ecommerce platform Commerce Cloud.

Benioff went on to talk about their recent failed bid for the business social network LinkedIn, saying: "You know how long it will take you to build that? A long time. If it is a great asset and a great price then that would be incredible and I viewed LinkedIn that way."


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