SAP to take cloud XM firm Qualtrics public in IPO

By William Smith
German software giant SAP has announced it is to spin off its subsidiary Qualtrics, an experience management SaaS platform...

German software giant SAP has announced it is to spin off its subsidiary Qualtrics, an experience management SaaS platform.

The surprising move comes less than two years after SAP swooped in to purchase the company for $8bn, right before Qualtrics' initial attempted IPO. At the time, the company said its rationale for the purchase lay in the combination of Qualtrics’ experience data with SAP’s broader software offering allowing customers to better manage operations from supply chains to employees. Qualtrics suite of products include survey taking capabilities in areas such as customer feedback, and analysis software to drive better decisions.

SAP will retain majority ownership, and Ryan Smith, who has led Qualtrics throughout, will remain in place.

In a press release, SAP CEO Christian Klein said: “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.

“As Ryan Smith, 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.”

The timing of the IPO was not announced, and will likely be heavily impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we launched the Experience Management category, our goal was always to help as many organizations as possible leverage the XM Platform as a system of action,” Qualtrics Founder Ryan Smith said. “SAP is an incredible partner with unprecedented global reach, and we couldn’t be more excited about continuing the partnership. This will allow us to continue building out the XM ecosystem across a broad array of partners.”

(Image: SAP)

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