Reports that Slack [WORK] is set to be acquired by Salesforce [CRM] for a record-breaking $27.7bn pushed Slack’s share price to its highest level since 20 June 2019 — its public debut. With the company having announced its Q3 2021 earnings a week earlier than expected on 1 December, what’s in store for Slack’s share price?
Until news of the acquisition broke on 25 November, Slack’s share price had been beaten down and was 14% off its then-52-week high of $42, set in June. Since the Wall Street Journal released its exclusive report on the acquisition, Slack’s share price has soared 44.29% (as of 7 December’s close).
On 1 December, Slack’s share price hit an all-time intraday high of $44.15 before closing at a high of $43.84. As of 7 December’s close, Slack’s share price has gained an impressive 85.4% year-to-date and is 182.65% above its 52-week low of $15.10, recorded on 16 March.
Strong numbers, but struggling
For the three months to the end of July, Slack reported revenue of $215.86m, up 48.9% from the $144.97m generated in Q2 2020. Its net loss of $74.85m was a significant improvement on the $359.56m loss reported in the year-ago quarter, and its EPS was $0.00. The earnings beat analyst expectations, according to Refinitiv data.
Slack's Q3 revenue - a 48.9% rise from Q2
Despite signs of strength in these numbers, Slack’s share price has struggled of late. Between the market correction in early September and news of the Salesforce deal, the stock was down circa 11%. The release of a report by Morgan Stanley towards the end of October didn’t help — this declared that Slack was no longer a beneficiary of the work-from-home trend, with potential customers choosing rival products, including Microsoft [MSFT] Teams and Zoom [ZM].
“Massive work-from-home demand for collaboration tools may end up doing more harm than good for Slack. We see higher risk at current levels,” wrote analysts at Morgan Stanley, who downgraded the stock from equal weight to Underweight and set a price target of $27.
The earnings report for the third-quarter fiscal year 2021, released by the company on 1 December, showed revenue of £234.5m, up 39% year-over-year on the $168.72m revenue reported in Q3 2020. According to Zacks Equity Research, five analysts had forecast revenue to be in a range of $231.93m–$238.3m, with a consensus of $234.67m.
“Massive work-from-home demand for collaboration tools may end up doing more harm than good for Slack. We see higher risk at current levels” - Morgan Stanley analysts
Reducing customer churn
In its most recent 10-Q filing, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield cited business budget cutbacks as a reason for customer churn: paid customers were deciding not to renew their subscriptions.
As of the end of 2Q21, Slack had 130,000 paying customers, up 30% year-over-year. In the first quarter, the company had reported having just over 122,000 paid customers — adding 12,000 in the three months to the end of April, up 28% from Q1 2020.
The third quarter’s results show paid customers have turned their backs on Slack for more attractive, bigger-name products like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. However, analysts suggest the Salesforce deal could be a boon for Slack further down the road.
“With Salesforce’s distribution and selling capabilities, Slack would instantly be propelled into C-level executive dissuasions across industries” - Alex Zukin, analyst with RBC Capital
“With Salesforce’s distribution and selling capabilities, Slack would instantly be propelled into C-level executive dissuasions across industries,” Alex Zukin, analyst with RBC Capital, wrote in a note to clients seen by CNBC.
Slack currently has 21 Wall Street ratings, according to MarketBeat, of which four are Buy, 15 Hold and two Sell. The consensus price target is $39.68, which represents a 7.03% drop from Slack’s share price at close on 7 December.