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CX acquisitions and funding news

M&A News: Qualtrics, Momentive Are Acquired; Amelia Gets Funding; Keap Buys The Factory

Also: Meta Platforms Rethinks Investment in Kustomer

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Silver Lake, CPP Investments Acquire Qualtrics for $12.5 Billion

Qualtrics, the inventor of the experience management category in customer relations, is being acquired by global technology investment firm Silver Lake, in partnership with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), the global investment organization established to help ensure the long-term viability of the Canadian pension plan system. The acquisition will be an all-cash transaction that values Qualtrics at approximately $12.5 billion.

Under the terms of agreement, 100% of the shares that Silver Lake does not already own, including the entire majority ownership investment of German software giant SAP, will be acquired by Silver Lake and its co-investors. Qualtrics shareholders, including SAP, will receive $18.15 per share in cash, a 73% premium to the 30-day volume-weighted average price on January 25, 2023, the last full trading day prior to SAP’s announcement to explore a sale of its stake in Qualtrics, and a 62% premium relative to the unaffected closing price on January 25, 2023.

All necessary approvals have been given, and the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions. Upon completion of the acquisition, Qualtrics common stock will no longer be listed on any public market. The transaction is fully financed by equity commitments from Silver Lake and co-investors in combination with $1.75 billion in equity from CPP Investments and $1 billion in debt.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Qualtrics X4 summit, the event in which the company announced new products and product features, as well as its ambition to be embedded in enterprises around the world in the same way as Google Workplace and Microsoft 365.

Related Article: Leading Organizations Chose Qualtrics in Q2, Aiming for Enhanced Experiences

Qualtrics and SAP intend to maintain a go-to-market and technology partnership to service existing joint customers and target new customer opportunities. Since its acquisition by SAP in 2019, Qualtrics has more than tripled its revenue while also increasing the number of brands using Qualtrics from 10,000 to more than 18,000 at present. CEO Zig Serafin will continue to lead the company.

Amelia Raises $175 Million in Funding

Amelia, the provider of an AI-based digital assistant and the enterprise leader in Trusted AI, raised $175 million in funding as it entered into a strategic partnership with BuildGroup, an Austin-based firm that builds high-growth technology businesses, and Monroe Capital, a premier boutique asset management firm specializing in private credit markets, and located in Chicago. Both firms will provide Amelia with financial capital and business leadership to help accelerate the adoption of Amelia’s Trusted AI products in the market.

The funding round will usher in a new era of growth for New York City-headquartered Amelia, says Chetan Dube, founder and CEO of Amelia. “For Amelia’s customers, employees, and partners—and for me personally—this partnership is a long time coming,” Dube declares. “Amelia has been at the forefront of leveraging AI for the betterment of people, the global workforce and ultimately our planet. This investment by our new partners will bring Amelia into a new era of growth driven by our Trusted AI solutions.”

As part of the agreement, BuildGroup co-founder and CEO Lanham Napier will be joining Amelia’s board as chairman and step into an active role on the leadership team.

Consortium Led by STG Acquires Momentive Global for $1.5 Billion

Momentive Global, the parent company and maker of SurveyMonkey, is being acquired by a consortium led by Symphony Technology Group (STG), the Menlo Park, California-based private equity firm that invests in software and services companies, in an all-cash transaction that values Momentive at approximately $1.5 billion.

Shareholders will receive $9.46 per share, representing a 28% premium to the volume weighted average closing price of Momentive stock for the 10 trading days ending on March 13, 2023, and a 46% premium to the company’s closing stock price on the day prior to media rumors regarding a potential sale on October 19, 2022.

Approved unanimously by the board of directors of Momentive, the transaction is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Momentive shareholders and the regulatory authorities. Following completion of the transaction, Momentive’s common stock will be delisted from all public markets, but the company will continue to operate under the Momentive name and the Momentive and SurveyMonkey brands.

Zander Lurie, Momentive CEO, says the acquisition and STG’s investment experience will enable Momentive to advance its long-term strategy and mission as the company scales its customer base and product suite. “Today’s volatile business climate necessitates that organizations consistently collect feedback from their stakeholders,” Lurie remarks. “That’s where we shine.”

Momentive has had a difficult time in the last two years. In January 2022, an impending acquisition of Momentive by customer service solution provider Zendesk was derailed by activist investors who said the deal would destroy Zendesk shareholder value. Then in October, Momentive laid off 11% of its workforce in an act that the company said was needed to improve operating margins.  

Related Article: Activist Investor Jana Partners Calls for Zendesk to Abandon Acquisition of Momentive Global

Meta Reconsiders Kustomer Deal, Plans to Divest

Meta Platforms Inc. says it is exploring strategic alternatives for Kustomer, the customer service company it acquired last year. According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news last week and cited people familiar with the situation, Meta is planning to divest Kustomer as it looks to refocus on its core business as well as its fast-growing offerings in business messaging.

Kustomer sells CRM software for businesses to communicate with consumers by phone, email, text messages, messaging platforms like WhatsApp, social media platforms like Instagram, and other channels. It saw usage soar during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company positions itself as the CRM platform that delivers faster, richer experiences to customers with its use of omnichannel messaging, a unified customer view, and AI-powered automations.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, acquired Kustomer in November 2020 for $1 billion but was unable to close the deal until February 2023 when it cleared regulatory scrutiny—first, from the European Union, and then from the US Federal Trade Commission.

Meta’s reconsideration of the Kustomer acquisition comes at a time of hardship and economic uncertainty for the social media giant. Meta laid off 11,000 workers—13% of its total—in November, and another round of layoffs is being planned for this year.

Keap Acquires The Factory

Keap, the Chandler, Arizona-based provider of a sales and marketing solution for small business, has acquired The Factory, a former Keap partner that assists small business owners with building marketing strategies and implementing sales and marketing automation.

Acquisition of The Factory will give Keap customers additional tools to drive their success, says Keap CEO and co-founder Clate Mask. Founded in 2001, Keap is a cloud-based solution that provides functionality in customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, and e-commerce in one suite, helping small businesses streamline sales and manage customer experiences.

For its part, The Factory allows small business owners to submit new campaign requests in minutes, after which a new campaign is created and implemented by The Factory’s team in approximately two to three business days. The Factory’s service line-up helps small business owners in executing campaigns to capture sales leads and convert leads to sales, build landing pages, and rebuild old campaigns.

With the acquisition, Tyler Garns, founder of The Factory and long-time Keap partner, will join Keap as group product manager of services. Garns says The Factory has helped more than 1,800 entrepreneurs in creating 8,000 campaigns to move their business forward, and that the Keap acquisition will enable customers to have more frequent and successful campaigns.

Financial details of the transaction were not available, but Keap has says it is on a mission to simplify growth for 1 million entrepreneurs worldwide by 2030. Keap is funded by Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Signal Peak Ventures.

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