Less than two years after buying Qualtrics for US$8 billion SAP has announced plans to take the survey and feedback business public via an initial public offering in the US. 

SAP will remain a major shareholder in the business and the company says the primary objective for the IPO is to provide Qualtrics with more autonomy to expand its footprint both within SAP’s customer base and beyond.  

Qualtrics, which is part of SAP’s cloud portfolio, has operated with greater autonomy than other companies SAP had previously acquired. Founder Ryan Smith and the current management team of Qualtrics will continue to operate the company. 

SAP currently owns 100 per cent of Qualtrics shares. SAP will retain majority ownership of Qualtrics and has no intention of spinning off or otherwise divesting its majority ownership interest. Smith intends to be Qualtrics’ largest individual shareholder.

The all-cash deal was announced during the tenure of former SAP CEO Bill McDermott (who now leads ServiceNow), just four days before Qualtrics had planned to go public. 

In a statement released over the weekend SAP CEO Christian Klein said the IPO would “ 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’s acquisition of Qualtrics has been a great success and has outperformed our expectations with 2019 cloud growth in excess of 40 per cent, demonstrating very strong performance in the current setup,” Klein said. 

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

Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith said, “When we launched the Experience Management category, our goal was always to help as many organisations as possible leverage the XM Platform as a system of action.

“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.” 

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