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Tableau went public in 2013, but in recent months explored a sale.
Tableau went public in 2013, but in recent months explored a sale.

Tableau Software, one of the largest software companies in Seattle and a pioneer in the field of data visualization software, reportedly explored a sale earlier this summer, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

TableauThe new information comes to light after the Journal on Tuesday reported separately that Tableau — which is in the midst of a CEO transition — was on a short list of possible acquisition targets for Salesforce.com. Shares of Tableau spiked today on news of that report, jumping more than three percent and sending the company’s market value to $3.68 billion.

Shares are down nearly 50 percent this year as Tableau is facing increased competition in the data analytics industry. After disappointing Wall Street with its quarterly earnings at the end of last year, Tableau’s stock lost about half its value and has yet to fully recover.

Christian Chabot, Tableau co-founder and chairman, with new Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky. Photo via Michael Clinard/Tableau.
Christian Chabot, Tableau co-founder and chairman, with new Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky. Photo via Michael Clinard/Tableau.

The company, which has 3,200 employees worldwide, also scaled back hiring plans by 50 percent earlier this year.

Tableau has long been discussed as a potential M&A target, especially as shares sank and the software industry consolidated around bigger players.

“We remain in a fiercely competitive environment, there’s no real big update to that in Q2. Competition will remain an important factor in our business,” Tableau Chairman Christian Chabot said during an earnings call in August.

While discussing the CEO transition — Chabot stepped down and was replaced by former Amazon Web Services leader Adam Selipsky — in an interview with GeekWire this past August, Chabot noted that Tableau is “one of the fastest-growing technology companies out there.” It closed more new accounts during Q2 than any quarter in its history.

Chabot added that Tableau, which has more than 46,000 customer accounts, “has a very small share” of the visual data and analytics market, pinning it at about 5 percent.

“Tableau’s size and scale continues to increase,” Chabot said.

Founded in 2003, Tableau — which had its in IPO 2013 — was one of 14 companies identified as potential acquisition targets by Salesforce. The list included Qlik Technologies, a competitor of Tableau’s that was acquired for $3 billion by private equity firm Thoma Bravo in August.

A spokeswoman for Tableau declined to comment on the WSJ report.

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