SAP spin-off Qualtrics, makers of 'experience management,' soars 52% on debut

SAP will retain the vast majority of the “experience management” software maker and all the voting rights of the company.

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Shares of Qualtrics, the spin-out of software giant SAP AG, soared 52% in their first day of trading in an initial public offering lead by Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.

The shares, trading under the ticker symbol "XM" on the Nasdaq, priced at $30, and immediately jumped from there to $41.85 at the open of trading Thursday, and closed at $45.50.

The proceeds of the $30-per-share offering brought $1.5 billion for Qualtrics and for its parent, SAP, which will still own the vast majority of Qualtrics stock following the offering. With a combined 503 million or so class A and class B shares, the entity has a market capitalization of roughly $23 billion.

Qualtrics, which filed for IPO on December 28th, makes software is for what the company calls "experience management" — hence, the XM ticker. 

The company claims that experience management software is a new category of software that it said "enables organizations to succeed in today's experience economy."

"Our XM Platform helps organizations both design and improve the experiences that turn their customers into fanatics, employees into ambassadors, products into obsessions, and brands into religions," the company says.

Qualtrics is part of that class of software known as a "systems of action," in contrast to software programs such as CRM that are "systems of record."

The software includes four modules, called "CustomerXM," "EmployeeXM," "ProductXM," and "BrandXM." 

SAP last July said it has no intention of spinning off Qualtrics, saying it considers the acquisition to have been a great success. 

Based in Provo, Utah, Qualtrics was founded in 2002 and was originally going to go public back in the winter of 2018. It was bought out by SAP in 2019 before that offering could happen from a group of venture capital firms, including Accel Partners, Sequoia Capital and Insight Venture Management for $8 billion in cash.

SAP will own 84.1% of the common stock and maintain 98.1% of the voting power, according to Qualtrics's IPO prospectus