Slack Is Raising $250 Million From SoftBank, Others

Messaging startup is set to be valued at more than $5 billion in new funding round.

Slack Technologies Inc. is raising about $250 million in a funding round co-led by SoftBank Group Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, as the Japanese investment firm helps drive a new venture capital boom.

Investors in the round are expected to value the San Francisco-based company, which sells software for workers to communicate with their colleagues, at more than $5 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. Accel, a Silicon Valley venture firm, led the financing alongside SoftBank, the people said. Slack will also let employees and other shareholders sell equity to investors as part of the deal, the people said.

Slack declined to comment. Business news website Axios earlier reported the investors leading the round.

The startup market has rebounded from a lull this year and is at its highest point since December, according to the Bloomberg U.S. Startups Barometer, an index tracking venture deals. SoftBank has ramped up its deal-making for private tech companies since raising a mega fund that could reach $100 billion.

The investment in Slack gives the startup a healthy increase in valuation from the last round, which was $3.8 billion. In that deal from April 2016, Slack received $200 million. (Bloomberg Beta, the venture capital arm of Bloomberg LP, is an investor in Slack.)

But the new valuation is far from the $9 billion or more Slack was expected to fetch in a possible sale. Bloomberg reported last month that the company was attracting takeover interest from technology giants, including Inc. Those talks have cooled in recent weeks, and an acquisition isn't expected in the near term, people familiar with the matter said.

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