RealTime IT News

For Sale Rumors Swirling About Salesforce Again

Once again, rumors that Salesforce.com has become a takeover target are keeping the grapevine busy, showing up on various blogs including Eric Savitz's blog on Barron's.

Such rumors have been springing up around Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) for a long time and have always been dismissed. The latest were based on the jump in the company's share prices Thursday, which closed up 2.06 percent at $52.04 in the last trade.

Salesforce.com kept mum on the rumors, with its spokesperson reiterating in an e-mail to InternetNews.com the company's usual mantra, that it "does not comment on rumor and speculation."

Analysts said they'd heard the rumors but were not convinced there was anything to them.

Almost every month since February, rumors have emerged that Salesforce.com shares were climbing because a takeover might be in the works, and today was no different.

On September 10, the company's shares jumped from $54.95 on opening to $56.09 at close of trading, on news that it would be added to the S&P 500 to replace Freddie Mac September 12.

This week's rumors are just that -- rumors, and the share price increase could be due to the company's making up lost ground, Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told InternetNews.com. Asked if Salesforce.com is up for sale, he said he saw "a couple of rumors to that effect but haven't spoken to anyone with anything substantive on it."

While the stock rose on Thursday, King pointed out that it was down earlier this week and added that it's not clear whether it recovered because the broader activity on the stock market surrounding the government's proposed $700 billion plan to bail out Wall Street.

Gartner distinguished analyst Martin Reynolds had not heard anything about a sale either, but pointed to the usual suspects as possible takeovers. "Oracle's (NASDAQ: ORCL) always looking to gather up people, they'd be one obvious candidate," he told InternetNews.com.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), which was rumored to be planning to buy Salesforce.com back in March 2007, is another candidate, Reynolds said, but "they'd be more likely to compete with them." His final potential candidate was IBM (NYSE: IBM), "which might decide it's something they'd like to have."

Savitz concluded his posting by dismissing the rumors as unlikely. In after-hours trading, Salesforce.com's share prices fell to $51.60, down 44 cents, or 0.85 percent.