Starboard Value reportedly taking ‘significant’ stake in Salesforce • ZebethMedia

Activist investor Starboard Value announced this morning that it was taking a “significant stake” in Salesforce, per CNBC. A presentation on Starboard’s website confirmed the firm’s interest in Salesforce, as well as Wix and Splunk.
The presentation looks at the company’s financial situation and concludes that it could be giving investors a better return. On the positive side, Starboard likes the company’s refreshed executive team with Bret Taylor as co-CEO.
It also likes Salesforce’s ambitious $50 billion revenue target for fiscal year 2026, but Starboard was less pleased with Salesforce’s combined growth and operating margin target of 42%. It claimed that Salesforce’s peers’ average is over 50%, and the implication is that it wants to see Salesforce closer to — or ahead of — its peer group.
Further, Starboard sees a company that has much greater scale than peer cloud companies like Workday and ServiceNow, its comparison companies. Starboard claims in the investor presentation that “despite expecting to grow slower than [these] peers, [it] is only targeting operating margins in-line to below its much smaller peers.”
“On a growth + margin basis, Salesforce significantly lags these companies and the peer set,” the company wrote in its presentation.
It believes that if Salesforce “generates incremental margins that are in-line with peer levels as it grows towards $50 billion in FY2026 revenue, margins would significantly exceed the Investor Day target.” And that would increase free cash flow per share over the next several years as it approaches that $50 billion revenue mark.
Salesforce issued a rather staid reaction to the news of Starboard’s move: “We are committed to acting in the best interests of our shareholders and are focused on continuing to execute on our strategy outlined at Dreamforce,” a company spokesperson told me.
Salesforce stock is up over 6% in trading this morning on the news.
This is a breaking story. We will update the story with additional information as it becomes available.

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