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Why more small companies avoid IPOs

SFGate Friday, 7 December 2018 ()
Ryan Smith spent years planning to sell shares of his software company, Qualtrics, on the stock market, meeting with bankers, carefully auditing financials and shaping a Wall Street-friendly narrative about the company’s prospects. Two weeks ago, the finish line was close, with a listing on the Nasdaq just a few days away. But shortly before a staff meeting to update Qualtrics’ employees about the public listing, Smith received a phone call from Bill McDermott, chief executive of SAP. “It’s on,” McDermott told Smith. Smith then stunned Qualtrics’ workers with a totally different message: SAP had agreed to buy the company for $8 billion in cash, nearly double the valuation bankers had set for the company’s public listing.
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