SAP’s Sale of Qualtrics Stake Signals Strategy Shift

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Key Takeaways

⇨ SAP will sell its controlling stake of Qualtrics to a private equity consortium.

⇨ The all-cash deal values SAP’s stake at $7.7 billion and gives Qualtrics an equity value of $12.5 billion.

⇨ The deal should have minimal impact on day-to-day operations for SAP users.

SAP announced on March 13 that it reached an agreement to sell its controlling stake of Qualtrics International Inc. to a consortium headlined by private equity investors Silver Lake and pension fund Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

After a negotiation process of more than six weeks, Silver Lake will acquire Qualtrics at a purchase price of $18.15 per share. The all-cash deal values SAP’s stake at $7.7 billion and gives Qualtrics an equity value of $12.5 billion. Per the Financial Times, this is the largest private equity buyout of 2023 thus far.

Silver Lake signaled its intention to transition Qualtrics into an independent privately held company. “Silver Lake has both the operational expertise and the track record with software companies to help Qualtrics extend its leadership in the XM category it pioneered,” said SAP CEO Christian Klein.

Former SAP CEO Bill McDermott spearheaded the acquisition of Qualtrics in 2019 for $8 billion, shortly before stepping down and taking over the top job at ServiceNow. This was the last of a series of acquisitions McDermott led, focusing on the integration of operations and experience data. Two years later, Qualtrics began trading on the Nasdaq. The software vendor was initially valued at $27.3 billion after its January 2021 IPO.

Following Klein’s ascension to CEO, SAP has narrowed its focus to its cloud business, though it does intend to stay a “a close go-to-market and technology partner” of Qualtrics.


“SAP’s sale of Qualtrics represents the conclusion to streamlining that has been in process over the last three years,” said SAPinsider Analyst Robert Holland. “It allows SAP to focus on their ongoing cloud goals, and should have minimal impact on customers as long as SAP remains a go-to-market and technology partner with Qualtrics.”

Zig Serafin will stay on as Qualtrics CEO. “We are incredibly excited to partner with the team at Silver Lake, who deeply understand our business and will help us continue to build a high performing company, invest in our innovation and expand our ecosystem to help our customers succeed,” Serafin said.

SAP expects the deal to close in the second half of 2023.

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