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Qualtrics to acquire Clarabridge for $1.1 bln in stock

July 29 (Reuters) - Qualtrics International Inc on Thursday said it would acquire privately held Clarabridge for $1.1 billion in stock.

Qualtrics, which was spun out of SAP SE earlier this year and remains majority-controlled by the German software company, makes software that helps companies gather feedback from customers about their experiences with products and services.

Most of Provo, Utah-based Qualtrics’ software uses online surveys to gather that feedback directly from customers.

Qualtrics said Reston, Virgina-based Clarabridge augments that capability by gathering feedback indirectly. Clarabridge’s software uses artificial intelligence to comb indirect sources like social media posts and customer support calls for information about how customers felt about their experience with a brand.

“Customers, employees, they’re sharing feedback about companies everywhere. They’re doing on social media, they’re doing it on support calls, they’re doing it on chats, they’re doing it in product reviews - everywhere,” Qualtrics Chief Executive Zig Serafin told Reuters in an interview.

Serafin said that the key to Clarabridge’s technology is its ability to understand human language. For example, it can detect not just that a customer on a support chat is upset, but how intensely upset the customer is - which can help the company decide which steps to take to remedy the problem.

“What it does is it takes the category that we’ve been building to the next level,” Serafin said.

The $1.125 billion acquisition price will be paid via fixed number of Qualtrics’ class A shares at $37.33 per share, slightly below Qualtrics closing price of $39.81 per share on Wednesday.

Qualtrics said that privately held Clarabridge had about $100 million in annual revenue, with a sales growth rate of about 25%.

Founded in 2006, Clarabridge raised about $125 million in venture capital prior to the deal from investors including General Catalyst, Summit Ventures and Boulder Ventures, according to Crunchbase. (Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco)