Report: Salesforce's Next Multi-Billion Dollar Acquisition Could Be Integration Specialist MuleSoft

Salesforce is in the advanced stages of acquisition talks with a popular cloud-based integration and API management vendor that went public last March, according to a Reuters report published Tuesday.

The potential deal for MuleSoft offers the promise of natively connecting apps built on the CRM-leader's development platforms with enterprise solutions from other vendors, Salesforce partners told CRN.

Citing anonymous sources, the news agency said an acquisition, while still uncertain, could be revealed later this week if the parties reach an agreement. Both companies are based in San Francisco.

[Related: Salesforce Looks To Extend Commerce Cloud To Businesses With CloudCraze Acquisition]

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MuleSoft shares were up $8.98 (27.17%) to $42.01 on the news in late trading on Tuesday. The company's market capitalization jumped to more than $5.48 billion.

Salesforce is a MuleSoft customer, along with the likes of Accenture, Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Tesla. The developer's Anypoint Platform supports service-oriented architecture, Software-as-a-Service integration, and API management to enable customers to secure the flow of data between all systems in the enterprise.

MuleSoft says its Integration Platform-as-a-Service empowers developers to integrate and orchestrate apps and services across enterprise data centers and cloud environments, connecting nearly every technology in a standardized way.

Most large Salesforce deployments for enterprise customers involve some form of integration solution, and there's an abundance of products on the market.

Making it easier for technology partners building apps on Salesforce development platforms to connect outside solutions could attract more customers to the Salesforce ecosystem, said Ron Zapar, CEO of Re-Quest, a Naperville, Ill.-based Salesforce partner.

’Since Salesforce provides a select set of cloud-based business functionality, having the ability to easily integrate their cloud platforms with a wide variety of on-premise and cloud-based ERPs eliminates barriers to entry for many companies looking to implement their CRM solutions on Salesforce and integrate them with their existing solutions," Zapar told CRN.

Kai Hsiung, chief growth officer at Silverline, a Salesforce partner that has worked with MuleSoft in the past, said his firm's integration team is mulling the ramifications of the deal if it goes through.

Previous Salesforce acquisitions have aligned to an industry or cloud-product play. But adding an integration platform is something the New York City-based solution provider had not anticipated—a move that could potentially disrupt any Salesforce consultant's integration strategy, especially if Salesforce positions MuleSoft as a pure-integration play, Hsiung told CRN.

But as Salesforce pushes more artificial intelligence and data science solutions into the marketplace, "pairing an [Enterprise Service Bus] solution like MuleSoft that can handle complex integrations in real-time could be an interesting development," Hsiung said. "One that is worth paying attention to."

"We are curious to see how Salesforce is planning to use Mulesoft and what it means for its partners and clients," he said

Last week, Salesforce agreed to purchase one of its prominent technology partners, CloudCraze, to bolster its Commerce Cloud.