Could activist peace be at hand at Salesforce? With the announcement Monday that Elliott would be withdrawing its nomination for the board of directors, it seems that the CRM leader could have forged a peace agreement. The question is: At what cost?
While it’s not clear what this agreement means to the other four activist firms operating inside the company, Elliott is likely pleased with the company’s recent changes including a surprisingly strong quarter combined with some moves like shareholder buy-backs, disbanding the M&A group and cost reduction strategies (which partly translated to laying off 10% of the staff).
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that Elliott’s work is done with the company, a person familiar with the agreement told TechCrunch+.
Surprisingly, the terms between the two companies doesn’t include a standstill agreement. There wasn’t even an information-sharing agreement or any type of legal document prohibiting Elliott from speaking badly about the company, talking to the press or anything like that.
“So Elliott established an ongoing relationship. That doesn’t mean it’s walking away, or never going to come back,” said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak publicly on behalf of the company. “Like I said, with the freedom of no standstill if everything goes south a month from now or a couple of months from now, the firm can always come back and say, ‘You know, we’re still watching. We’re still involved, and here’s what we think you should do to make it better.’ Elliott doesn’t want that to happen. But that is a possibility that could happen.”
All of that gives Elliott a lot of leeway to continue to pressure the company should circumstances warrant it. But for now, at least, Salesforce appears to have appeased the activist firm, and it has the activists off its back ahead of the stockholder’s meeting in June.