SAP SE, the German business software company, has agreed to purchase online sentiment tracking firm Qualtrics International Inc for $8 billion in cash.
Europe’s most valuable tech firm is set to strengthen its customer relationship management (CRM) software offering thanks to the deal – a focus of chief executive Bill McDermott.
The deal is SAP’s largest acquisition since buying travel and expense-management firm Concur in 2014, in a deal that saw for $8.3 billion change hands.
It has been reported that the latest deal is the largest-ever takeover of a tech firm on the verge of a market debut.
SAP has secured financing in the amount of €7 billion to cover purchase price and acquisition-related costs. The purchase price includes unvested employee incentive compensation and cash on the balance sheet at close.
Subject to customary closing conditions and attainment of regulatory clearances, the acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2019. The Boards of Directors of SAP and Qualtrics have approved the transaction. Qualtrics’ shareholders have also approved the transaction.
Qualtrics captures and analyses data on brands and products from real-time sources including social media and email, and should give SAP’s clients better insights into their own customers’ experience. The company’s European headquarters is based in Dublin, where it employs over 250 people. In August, the company said it create more than 350 jobs in Dublin over the next four years to bring its total staff to 600. A spokeswoman for the company confirmed the recruitment drive will continue in Dublin, with Qualtrics expected to operate as a standalone brand following the acquisition.
SAP CEO Bill McDermott said: “Together, SAP and Qualtrics represent a new paradigm, similar to market-making shifts in personal operating systems, smart devices and social networks. SAP already touches 77 percent of the world’s transactions. When you combine our operational data with Qualtrics’ experience data, we will accelerate the XM category with an end-to-end solution with immediate global scale. For Qualtrics, this introduces a dynamic new partner with the belief, passion and scale to bring experience management to millions of customers around the world.
“The combination of Qualtrics and SAP reaffirms experience management as the groundbreaking new frontier for the technology industry. SAP and Qualtrics are seizing this opportunity as like-minded innovators, united in mission, strategy and culture. We share the belief that every human voice holds value, every experience matters and that the best-run businesses can make the world run better. We can’t wait to stand beside Ryan and his amazing colleagues for the next chapters in the experience management story. The best for Qualtrics and SAP is yet to come!”
Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics, added: “Our mission is to help organizations deliver the experiences that turn their customers into fanatics, employees into ambassadors, products into obsessions and brands into religions. Supported by a global team of over 95,000, SAP will help us scale faster and achieve our mission on a broader stage. This will put the XM Platform everywhere overnight. We could not be more excited to join forces with Bill and the SAP team in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to power the experience economy.”