Hillicon Valley: Salesforce to acquire Slack for $28 billion | Uber completes $2.65 billion Postmates acquisition | Federal agencies warn that hackers are targeting US think tanks

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill’s newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.

Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

SLACK FOR SALE: Salesforce announced its intention Tuesday to acquire workplace messaging service Slack for $27.7 billion in cash and stock.


If completed, the deal will be one of the biggest software mergers in recent memory and the latest in a series of bets on remote work by tech companies.

Stewart Butterfield, who founded Slack in 2010, will stay on as CEO of the company.

“Stewart and his team have built one of the most beloved platforms in enterprise software history, with an incredible ecosystem around it,” Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, said in a statement. “This is a match made in heaven.”

The deal is scheduled to close sometime in the middle of 2021, pending shareholder and regulatory approval. Salesforce noted in its press release that it has the backing of Slack shareholders representing 55 percent of shares.

Read more here.


UBER ACQUIRES POSTMATES: Uber completed its $2.65 billion acquisition of delivery platform Postmates, the companies announced Tuesday.


The announcement came about five months after Uber said it reached an agreement to acquire Postmates in an all-stock deal. 

Uber said on Tuesday the consumer-facing apps of Postmates and Uber’s food delivery platform Uber Eats will continue to run separately but will be supported by a combined network of merchants and delivery drivers.

“Uber and Postmates have long been committed to powering delivery services that support local commerce and communities, all the more important during crises like the one we face today. 

“We’re thrilled to bring these two teams together to continue to innovate, bringing ever-better products and services for merchants, delivery people, and consumers across the country,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in the announcement. 

Read more here.


THINK TANKS TARGETED: The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned Tuesday that major hacking groups are targeting U.S. think tanks.

The agencies put out an alert noting that advanced persistent threat (APT) hacking groups were mainly targeting think tanks and individuals involved with international affairs or national security policies. 

The targeting involved malicious phishing emails, and attempted to exploit vulnerabilities in remote networks and other internet-connected devices. 

“Given the importance that think tanks can have in shaping U.S. policy, CISA and FBI urge individuals and organizations in the international affairs and national security sectors to immediately adopt a heightened state of awareness,” the agencies wrote in the alert. 

The agencies noted that the move to increased teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic had increased the threat surface for attackers, including through the ability to target virtual private networks used to access secure work networks remotely. 

“When successful, these low-effort, high-reward approaches allow threat actors to steal sensitive information, acquire user credentials, and gain persistent access to victim networks,” the agencies wrote.  

Read more here.



CISA DRAMA CONTINUES: Matthew Travis, the former deputy director of the nation’s top cybersecurity agency, on Tuesday defended former top cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs after a lawyer for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King’s attorney believes they’re close to getting pardon from Trump MORE’s reelection campaign called for violence against Krebs.

Travis’s comments came after Joe diGenova said during an interview this week on “The Howie Carr Show” that Krebs, who was fired by President Trump last month after pushing back against Trump’s claims of voter fraud during the recent election, should be “drawn and quartered” and “taken out at dawn and shot.”

“It’s egregious, I’m at a loss for words at how absurd those and offensive those comments were, I think that’s got to violate some type of code of professional conduct for the DC Bar, and I hope they look into it,” Travis, the former deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said at the Aspen Institute’s virtual Cyber Summit on Tuesday. 

“He’s a small man with a small mind and bad mustache,” Travis said of diGenova, adding that he hoped diGenova would “take back those words, apologize and recognize that maybe the hot lights of the studio got to him.”

Krebs on Tuesday also responded to the threat from diGenova, saying during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” that he and his legal team were “taking a look at all our available legal opportunities” as a result of diGenova’s comments.

“We are a nation of laws, and I plan to take advantage of those laws,” Krebs said. “I’ve got an exceptional team of lawyers that win in court, and I think they’re probably going to be busy.”

The Trump attorney, diGenova, has since said that his remarks were meant as a joke and hyperbole, and that he wished Krebs no harm, according to a report in National Review.


Read more here. 


AMAZON REPORTS BLACK FRIDAY SALES: Amazon announced Tuesday that independent businesses on its platform received more than $4.8 billion in sales worldwide from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. 

The company said in a press release that this revenue marked a more than 60 percent increase from this time last year, with more than 71,000 small- and medium-sized businesses around the world surpassing $100,000 in sales to date this holiday season. 

It added that American small- and medium-sized businesses have so far sold an average of 9,500 products per minute in recent weeks. 

Amazon said that amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is seeing “record demand” from customers, making it the company’s “biggest holiday season to date.” 

“In a holiday season unlike any other, it’s clear that customers still want great deals on gifts for their loved ones or a little something extra for themselves, and we’re glad to help deliver smiles throughout the season,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in the press release. 


Read more here.


NAME CHANGE: The Facebook-backed cryptocurrency project Libra is changing its name to reflect adjustments made by its designers to “meet regulatory expectations,” according to a statement released Tuesday.

The Libra Association announced its new title is Diem Association, named for the Latin word for “day.” The digital currency will be called the Diem Dollar.

The group said the renaming represents a “new day” for the project and maintains the goal of creating a secure and straightforward platform to conduct quick and low-cost transactions worldwide.

The renaming is an effort by the company to gain a foothold in the emerging market and win over regulators and lawmakers, according to Bloomberg

Read more here.


Lighter click: Friction never makes that noise

An op-ed to chew on: With Chang’e 5 launch, China takes a giant leap forward in the race to the moon


Facial Recognition Company Lied to School District About its Racist Tech (Motherboard / Todd Feathers)

Ossoff campaign turns to TikTok and Snapchat ahead of special election (The Verge / Makena Kelly)

Tech Companies Won Big in California, but the Gig Worker Battle Isn’t Over (The Markup / David Bradley Isenberg)