What happened to Slack today

Alex Wilhelm
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 02: A view of Slack headquarters on April 02, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Workplace messaging company Slack Technologies Inc. announced plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

You've been busy. I've been busy. But people are talking about Slack all over Twitter, so let me catch us both up.

All the ruckus concerning Slack and its publicly traded stock appeared to kick off with a Business Insider story, which had the following headline:

Slack just scored its biggest customer deal ever, as IBM moves all 350,000 of its employees to the chat app

Given the context of the simmering Slack versus Teams battle, having Slack win what appeared to be a huge, new contract was big news. Slack's shares shot higher, and the news engendered all sorts of headlines that now look a bit silly.

Like this one:

Slack may survive after all, after IBM choose [sic] them as exclusive supplier for 350,000 employees 

Slack shares traded up sharply all day. They were worth 15.4% more than yesterday, and then, all of a sudden this fine afternoon, trading of Slack's equity was halted, pending news.

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This led to general chaos, with everyone trying to figure out what had happened. Had Google bought Slack? Had Slack bought a small poodle? Was IBM not a Slack customer? It wasn't clear.

Halting a stock, to be clear, is a big deal, and instantly brings attention to the company in question. Public firms don't hold for news much, as it's no good and no fun. It's also why earnings come after hours.

Later, Slack released an SEC filing, which included the fact that IBM was already one of its customers. This meant that IBM was not a new customer, and that the headline 350,000 employee figure would not manifest itself in that many novel seats of Slack sold.

The company itself put a final bit of ironmongery in the human plasticware, saying the following in the filing to tamp down the market's enthusiasm:

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.

Womp womp, I believe is the phrase.

Also this happened, but the day's events appear to be mostly a lot of whatnot that wound up being not what we thought.

When Slack finally did begin to float in after-hours trading, it quickly gave back about half of its gains. Slack shares are currently worth $24.56 in after-hours trading. They started the day worth around $23, and traded as high as the mid $27s.

Now you know.