Salesforce.com Inc., the world’s biggest maker of Internet-based customer management software, rose the most this year in New York trading on speculation that Oracle Corp. may buy the company.
Salesforce.com, based in San Francisco, has approached Oracle to gauge interest in an acquisition at $75 a share, according to the Silicon Valley Watcher blog, which cited an unidentified source. That equates to a price of about $8.9 billion.
The company, which sells so-called on-demand software as a service over the Internet, faces mounting competition from Microsoft Corp. and SAP AG, as well as Oracle. Salesforce.com shares had fallen 22 percent since reaching a record in December. The reported asking price represents a 47 percent premium over the stock’s $50.87 closing price on Feb. 8.
“The fear is that eventually Microsoft gets on-demand CRM right for smaller customers, while Oracle and SAP get it right for larger customers,” said Patrick Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC in San Francisco, explaining why Salesforce.com might pursue a sale. “That’s what history suggests may happen. Eventually the big guys tend to figure it out.” He predicts the shares will rise in line with the market.
Salesforce.com surged $3.93, or 7.7 percent, to $54.80 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the most since Dec. 20.
Salesforce.com spokeswoman Jane Hynes said the company doesn’t comment on rumors.