Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff responds to questions about a Microsoft takeover bid

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Just about a year ago, Salesforce and Microsoft were reported to have engaged in talks for a takover deal.

Microsoft wanted to pay $55 billion for the cloud software maker, but Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff asked for more, raising the price to $70 billion, CNBC’s David Faber reported at the time.

Talks of a deal have fizzled out since then, but some analysts still believe that a merger could happen.

So Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” asked Benioff this week if it’s time to finally put a stop to rumours of a possible Salesforce-Microsoft union.

Benioff’s first response was interesting. He said:

This is an incredible moment in history and as you can see Salesforce’s growth continues to accelerate and grow. I’ve now been working on this company for almost 18 years and I think that we’ve delivered fantastic results. As part of that, of course, I’m also making personal decisions as that goes and that’s what’s happening there.

That didn’t sound too convincing, so Cramer followed up, asking, “Wait a second, that sounds different…It sounds like you conceivably could be a seller.”

Only then, Benioff corrected himself, saying he was “confused” by the question. He clarified:

Salesforce is on such an exciting journey, I’ve never been more excited about Salesforce. I’ve never been more excited about where we are and what’s going on. I mean this is just an incredible time. And when I hear about all those things, I just put all that aside and I just focus on executing my job in the company which is the CEO, that’s what I’m saying. I certainly hope that this quarter’s evidence of that.

That still doesn’t sound like a sale is completely out of the picture. But at least it does give the confidence that Benioff is focused on his day-to-day job.

And Salesforce’s latest quarterly results back it up. Salesforce had another blow out quarter, beating street estimates and raising full year forecasts. It’s expected to surpass $8 billion in annual revenue and just had its first quarter with over $1 billion in operating cash flow. Salesforce shares are up 50% since early February, and is trading at near record-high levels now.

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