Post-acquisition, Qualtrics looks to future as fully independent company


A few days after going private for a second time, software giant Qualtrics International Inc. was already prepping for its next iteration.

With the experience-management company fully independent from SAP
for the first time, Qualtrics employees and management huddled to discuss further investments in engineering, including artificial intelligence. One key area of growth could pivot on technology from Clarabridge, a company Qualtrics acquired for $1.125 billion in 2021, according to a person familiar with Qualtrics’ business strategy who is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Clarabridge’s AI-powered platform lets businesses capture and analyze customer feedback from indirect sources such as social media, emails, support calls, chats and product reviews.

On Monday in Germany, where SAP is based, Qualtrics
announced it has agreed to be taken private by Silver Lake, in partnership with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, in a deal that values Qualtrics at about $12.5 billion. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2023.

Under the all-cash deal, Silver Lake and CPP Investments will pay $18.15 a share to buy Qualtrics. That buyout price marks a 73% premium to the group’s trading price before SAP announced in January plans to explore a sale of its stake in the company.

SAP bought Qualtrics for $8 billion in 2019 and spun it off two years later.

Monday’s deal culminates a months-long negotiation in which SAP worked to divest its 71% stake in Qualtrics as part of a restructuring of the German software group.

“Silver Lake’s belief in our vision and their amazing track record of helping founders and management teams speaks for itself,” Qualtrics Executive Chair Ryan Smith said in a statement.

Qualtrics Chief Executive Zig Serafin will continue to lead the company. Silver Lake co-CEO Egon Durban, who has served on the Qualtrics board since its spinoff from SAP was completed, is expected to remain on the board.

Qualtrics, which invented specialized software-analytics tools that help companies respond to their online customers, has nearly 20,000 business customers. The company reported $1.5 billion in 2022 revenue, up 36% year over year. Qualtrics posted a profitable fourth quarter.