SAP-CEO Christian Klein

The group boss rebuilds the software house.

(Photo: dpa)

Düsseldorf In November 2018, SAP CEO Bill McDermott surprised with a spectacular takeover. SAP bought the market research specialist Qualtrics for an enormous eight billion dollars. Europe’s most valuable software group had never spent so much on a company purchase. On the night of Monday, SAP announced in an ad hoc announcement that it wanted to take the subsidiary public.

SAP currently holds 100 percent of Qualtrics. The Group intends to retain a majority stake in the company in the future. “There is no intention to outsource or otherwise sell this majority stake,” announced SAP. Founder Ryan Smith plans to become Qualtrics’ largest single shareholder.

Qualtrics specializes in solutions for online market research. Companies can use this to determine how satisfied their customers and employees are, how their brands and products are perceived, at best in real time. They evaluate surveys, statements on social media and customer feedback.

SAP justified the decision to go public with the aim of giving Qualtrics more leeway. “This greater independence should enable Qualtrics to grow successfully within the SAP customer base and far beyond,” said the Walldorf-based company. SAP announced restrictively that a final decision on the IPO, as well as precise conditions and schedule are still pending.

SAP boss Christian Klein said that he made the decision to go public with the management of Qualtrics. The move was intended to accelerate growth, and it also made it possible “to act closer to the customer, to pursue an acquisition strategy of one’s own and to remain attractive to the best talents”. Klein said of the business success of Qualtrics: “The takeover of Qualtrics by SAP is a great success, it exceeded all expectations with cloud sales growth of over 40 percent in 2019.”

SAP presents convincing quarterly figures

Ryan Smith said an IPO could open up Qualtrics’ new partners. “SAP is a global company that is unparalleled worldwide. We are therefore particularly pleased to continue the partnership, ”Smith was quoted in the SAP release. On his LinkedIn account, he shared the news about Qualtrics’ planned IPO with smiling smileys and the symbol of a confetti thrower.

McDermott’s reason for buying Qualtrics at the time was to expand SAP’s product range. The business with marketing and sales software in particular should be strengthened by Qualtrics. If Qualtrics operates more independently in the future, this goal could be more difficult to achieve.

McDermott had completed the purchase of Qualtrics in 2018, shortly before an IPO that Smith intended. McDermott had argued that the purchase would have been significantly more expensive for SAP after an IPO. At that time, Walldorf had paid around 20 times Qualtrics’ turnover for the takeover.

On Monday, SAP will publish figures for the second quarter. Net profit climbed 52 percent year-on-year to 885 million euros, as the Dax group announced on Monday in Walldorf. This was also due to the fact that a job reduction program had cost just under 200 million euros a year ago.

Two weeks ago, the Group had already presented some key figures for the past three months in an ad hoc announcement. Sales increased by two percent compared to the previous year to 6.74 billion euros, the operating result due to special effects even by 55 percent to 1.28 billion euros – adjusted for currency effects, the increase was at least seven percent. The operating margin also improved significantly.

More: 170 billion euros market capitalization: the stock exchange celebrates good SAP figures.