Slack Clarifies Its Slacking IBM News

Slack Technologies Inc. (NYSE: WORK) has been in need of some good news for some time. Its shares have not held up since its direct IPO listing in 2019, in most part due to concerns that Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was going to be a long-term thorn in its side with its rival Microsoft Teams offering. A report had been out earlier on Monday from Business Insider and then pushed through the MarketWatch network that International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was going to deploy Slack to all of its 350,000 team members, sending Slack shares up over 15% to $26.52 on Monday. Then its shares were halted with a “News Pending” status on Monday right before the closing bell.

What had investors excited was that the dissemination after the report was touting IBM the largest customer for Slack. It turns out that IBM already was the largest customer, and whatever was being expanded inside IBM might not make for any extra changes to guidance.

An SEC filing was released after the close of trading on Monday and it said:

On February 10, 2020, a Business Insider article was published about Slack Technologies, Inc. (“Slack”). The article stated that International Business Machines Corporation (“IBM”) purchased Slack for all of its employees worldwide and further that IBM is Slack’s largest customer to date. IBM has been Slack’s largest customer for several years and has expanded its usage of Slack over that time. Slack is not updating its financial guidance for the fourth quarter of the fiscal year ended January 31, 2020 or for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2020.

Slack’s original IPO filing did not point out exactly who its customers were by name nor in order, but even back then it counted over 88,000 paid customers that included more than 65 companies that made up the Fortune 100, and it included over 500,000 organizations using one of its free subscription plans. The filing at that time said:

Our direct sales and customer success efforts are focused on larger organizations who have a greater number of users and teams and have the potential to increase spend over time. We measure the number of Paid Customers > $100,000 of annual recurring revenue, or ARR, as a gauge of adoption within and expansion into large enterprises. We had 575 Paid Customers >$100,000 of ARR as of January 31, 2019, which accounted for approximately 40% of our revenue in fiscal year 2019.

Slack shares came public initially at $38.50 and traded above that price on less than a handful of days. The June 20 IPO had even started to trade under $30 as quickly as mid-August without staging much recovery above a $20 to $22 trading range until the start of February.

Slack shares have a 52-week range of $19.53 to $42.00 with a $14.6 billion market cap based on its last trade. It had also traded some 57.8 million shares ahead of its halt time, about seven times a normal trading day and a record volume day outside of its initial public offering.

Slack shares reopened and were last seen giving back about half of its daily gain. The stock was down 7.9% at $24.44 after reopening in Monday’s after-hours session.