Customer management giant Salesforce is looking to acquire workforce productivity firm Slack, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Citing sources close to the deal, the Journal suspects the purchase could take place by next week as the two companies are in “advanced talks” about the takeover deal.

Salesforce’s share price took a five per cent hit following the news as investors were immediately troubled by the $300 billion company looking to make what would be its largest ever acquisition.

Slack had a market capitalisation of around $23 billion ahead of the news.

That quickly changed, however, with Slack’s own share price rising 11 per cent by the trading day’s end, dragging its value up over the $30 billion mark.

As with many productivity companies, Slack has benefited from the move to remote work caused by COVID-19.

For the fiscal quarter ending July 31, the company recorded over $290 million in revenue – a nearly 50 per cent year-on-year increase that was buoyed by a 30 per cent growth in its number of paid customers (over 130,000).

Should the deal with Slack go ahead, it would be a major pickup for Salesforce as it continues to expand toward more generalist enterprise software solutions, further bridging the gap between itself and business software leader Microsoft that Salesforce closed in on when it aquired data analytics firm Tableau for around $20 billion last year.

Microsoft beat out Salesforce when it bought LinkedIn in 2016 after a hot bidding war between the tech giants.

Now its attempts to nab Slack will help Salesforce further narrow in on Microsoft’s office productivity territory in a team-up that ought to delight Slack executives who recently filed complaints against Microsoft for alleged anti-competitive behaviour.

According to Slack, Microsoft was forcing users of its Office suite to install Teams – a workplace chat service with similar functions to Slack’s own product.