SAP’s Qualtrics Surges in Debut After $1.55 Billion Upsized IPO

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Qualtrics International Inc., the customer-survey software business spun off by SAP SE, climbed 52% in its trading debut after its U.S. initial public offering exceeded its goal to raise $1.55 billion.

The shares closed at $45.50 in New York trading Thursday, giving the company a market value of about $23 billion. The company sold 51.7 million shares for $30 each Wednesday after marketing about 50 million shares for $20 to $24, a range that had been elevated earlier.

The company’s trading debut came as stock markets bounced back after plunging Wednesday amid the fracas over the run-up in GameStop Corp. shares made short-selling a household discussion topic.

“Frankly, we just don’t get caught up on the way the stock market is evolving,” Qualtrics Chief Executive Officer Zig Serafin said in an interview. The company is focusing on its customers and “everything else takes care of itself,” he said.

The return of Qualtrics to the public market reflects a shift in SAP’s strategy under Chief Executive Officer Christian Klein, who was appointed in April.

The IPO proceeds will be used to help pay down $1.76 billion of debt owed to SAP America, while the remainder will be for working capital and other general corporate purposes, according to its filings. SAP will remain the company’s controlling shareholder after the listing.

Private equity firm Silver Lake and its affiliates also agreed to purchase $550 million of Qualtrics shares in a private placement.

In December, Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith bought 6 million shares at $20 a share in a private placement. Smith agreed to buy the Utah Jazz National Basketball Association team last year.

Smith’s investment was announced last year before the IPO price range was known. “Another level of my commitment to this is that I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is,” Smith said in an interview.

Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. led the offering. Qualtrics is trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol XM.

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