Slack, the popular collaboration tool widely used by developers, is rumoured to be the subject of acquisition interest from Amazon, in a deal that would value Slack at as much as $9bn.
Bloomberg reports that the online retail giant has made initial enquiries, citing anonymous "people with knowledge of the situation". Investors, the report adds, also include Blomberg's own venture capital arm, Bloomberg Beta.
Slack offers private collaboration tools that bespoke to individual teams, departments and organisations. Widely used by developers and in other sectors with widely dispersed teams working together on complx projects, it has caused enough ripples to draw the attention of Microsoft, which released Teams as a rival, and incorporated it into its Office 365 suite.
At its last funding round the company raised $200m, valuing it at $3.8bn, but the rumoured figures floating around from a hypothetical Amazon bid would value the company at as much as $9bn.
IBM is one of Slack's biggest users. It uses Slack's enterprise edition for tens of thousands of employees worldwide and is one of thousands of companies that uses Slack in preference to more unwieldy tools like Yammer and Outlook.
The report claims that Slack has five million daily active users at present, including 1.5 million paying, based on the ‘small groups free, large groups pay' principle, and had a $150m in annual recurring revenue as of 31 January.
Amazon, of course, needs very little introduction, but has been slower to capitalise on the demand for all-in-one platforms to rival Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite.
Dropbox and Box are also now offering end-to-end solutions that developed out of their cloud storage. Slack-owned Amazon would represent a significant threat to these two companies' business models.
However, Amazon's WorkDocs suite, WorkMail and its own recently launched collaboration suite Amazon Chime have not proved as popular as might be expected, and buying a ready made customer base would make sense for Amazon, as well as helping to drive more business to AWS.
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