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SAP flags IPO ambition for Qualtrics subsidiary

SAP flags IPO ambition for Qualtrics subsidiary

SAP will retain a controlling majority stake in the company

Ryan Smith (Qualtrics)

Ryan Smith (Qualtrics)

Credit: Qualtrics

Experience management software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor Qualtrics will finally get its shot at going public, with SAP, which completed its acquisition of the company in early 2019, flagging its intent to publicly list its subsidiary. 

SAP agreed to acquire Qualtrics just four days before Qualtrics was to go public in 2018, with the German software giant at the time recognising the potential of bringing together experience and operational data to be leveraged by corporate customers. SAP currently owns 100 percent of Qualtrics shares. 

Now, SAP has revealed plans to take Qualtrics public through an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States.

While an IPO is now finally on the cards for Qualtrics, SAP plans to retain a majority ownership of the company and has no intention at present of spinning off, or otherwise divesting, its majority ownership interest. 

Ryan Smith, Qualtrics co-founder and CEO, intends to be Qualtrics’ largest individual shareholder following the public listing. At the same time, the founder and current management team of Qualtrics will continue to operate the company.

SAP has stressed that it is fully committed to experience management and the Qualtrics XM Platform as a key element of its intelligent enterprise strategy. As such, SAP has said it will remain Qualtrics’ closest and most important co-innovation and go-to-market partner.

SAP claims its primary objective for the IPO is to “fortify Qualtrics’ ability to capture its full market potential within experience management”. 

This will help to increase Qualtrics’ autonomy and enable it to expand its footprint both within SAP’s customer base and beyond, according to the software giant. 

“SAP’s acquisition of Qualtrics has been a great success and has outperformed our expectations with 2019 cloud growth in excess of 40 percent, demonstrating very strong performance in the current setup,” SAP CEO Christian Klein said. 

“As Ryan Smith, [Qualtrics COO] Zig Serafin and I worked together, we decided that an IPO would provide the greatest opportunity for Qualtrics to grow the experience management category, serve its customers, explore its own acquisition strategy and continue building the best talent. 

“SAP will remain Qualtrics’ largest and most important go-to-market and research and development (R&D) partner while giving Qualtrics greater independence to broaden its base by partnering and building out the entire experience management ecosystem,” Klein added.

A final decision on the IPO and its conditions and timing is pending and subject to market conditions, SAP said. The transaction is not expected to have an impact on SAP’s 2020 or longer-term financial targets.


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