Qualtrics acquisition fucked employees?

Facebook / Product BCG
Mar 21 28 Comments

My friend at Qualtrics said they got screwed over by the acquisition and employees with equity saw none of the upside from the 3x acquisition price relative to previous valuation. But there's been no backlash or bad pr about this. Why is that?

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TOP 28 Comments
  • Qualtrics / Eng _
    I haven’t heard anyone complain about getting “screwed over” ... but there have been a good amount of employees mad about the horrible messaging from leadership. Lots of overpromise/underdeliver. They also don’t have any retention plan, and RSUs vest on existing schedules (other than usual promotions and some salary bumps here and there... while at the same time misleading by saying overall it’s net neutral compensation, while tons of execs are getting $1MM annual comp they weren’t before.)

    There hasn’t been employee exodus or anything yet. Everyone seems happy, but most would have liked IPO more.
    Mar 21 7
    • Facebook / Product Cheezey
      So what I heard is employees shares were bought back or cashed out at the pre acquisition valuation. Is that true?
      Mar 21
    • Airbnb / Eng ;;;;;;
      How much did the average senior engineer that’s been there a few years make on the whole thing?
      Mar 21
    • Qualtrics / Eng _
      It depends on when they joined, but everyone is getting ~3x the value they were told at last valuation before buyout.

      For me, my 2 years left vesting Qualtrics RSUs will be paid at $35 each quarterly (was 4yr grant). I was given the first 2 years all together lump sum last month.
      Mar 21
    • Qualtrics / Eng _
      L5’s in Seattle probably getting total comp ~$300-400k going forward. Might have received $150-400k on already vested RSUs depending on how much they had.

      Provo similar situation, just much less RSUs (about half?)
      Mar 21
    • Salesforce 2438ez
      People get paid a different amount for their RSUs depending on when they joined? Or everyone gets $35 per share but people have a different proportion of shares that have already vested due to when they joined? And future shares vest at same rate regardless of future performance?
      Mar 22
    • Qualtrics kCDf71
      When you joined turned out to make not much difference. I joined many years earlier than most and am still under $200k toc, meanwhile many newer hires fared much better.

      Everyone gets $35/share and they vest at the same rate. But lots of people been trying to figure out what happened... seems like promotions were artificially bottlenecked for years and grants were made conservatively and selectively. That combined with very poorly managed expectations from mgmt has made for a lot of very frustrated people, esp among the more tenured.

      It’s silly to complain about getting “screwed over” when you made hundreds of thousands overnight, but it does feel that way.
      Mar 22
    • Salesforce 2438ez
      Makes sense, thank you!
      Mar 22
  • Airbnb / Eng ;;;;;;
    🍿
    Mar 21 0
  • Qualtrics PHeO87
    There was no liquidation preference at all. Everyone got $35 per share. No one was screwed. The only valid complaint is that Qualtrics was (extremely?) conservative on giving out equity so most people didn’t see a huge upside. When giving out grants the company was savvy and aware of current / expected valuations and made grants accordingly.
    Mar 22 1
    • Qualtrics / Eng _
      Don’t forget horrible messaging from leadership. Telling 100% of employees this is great for them, and they’ve got millions for them secured in the deal, when over half of the company is lucky to see any increase at all.
      Mar 22
  • Qualtrics nvYd50
    Lots of people just don't have as much equity as they would have liked. I have been at Q for 2 years (started as a new grad) and even after the "insane buyout premium" my equity compensation is $43k over 4 years. Now that we are part of SAP we're moving to a more salary heavy, equity light (since apparently Q was equity heavy lol) comp model. It is supposed to happen over the next couple years as existing equity vests.

    Anyway, I don't think many people got "screwed", but lots are disappointed. Some are interviewing. Some are planning to stay until the next refresh cycle in April (results won't come back until June ish).
    Mar 22 1
    • Qualtrics user1214
      This is basically the issue. Our three founders made a billion dollars *each* and this person is making less than a college hire at FAANG makes now despite two years of experience and a premium buyout. We all agreed to our offer letters so it's not fair to say we got screwed but there's no reason to stick around IMO
      Mar 22
  • Qualtrics / Ops
    qualtricdo

    Qualtrics Ops

    BIO
    Came from non tech to tech.
    qualtricdomore
    The biggest issue is that you are locked into a price for 3 more years, so the npv is lower. Sap stock price has increased 8%, but we're still locked in at $35/share for the next 2-3 years
    Mar 22 0
  • Qualtrics
    crewterton

    Qualtrics

    PRE
    Goldman Sachs
    crewtertonmore
    I wouldn’t say anyone got screwed. I think the ire comes from Ryan stated he got $XXX million for employee retention and most of that went to senior execs. They messaged it as leadership fighting for the employees but only a few have seen the benefit of that.
    Mar 22 0
  • Dropbox systest
    🤐
    Mar 21 0
  • Expedia Yeet_Code
    I got an offer from Qualtrics around 190k TC as L4 which is a big jump in TC for me. I hope this negativity is just isolated to people always wanting more and its still a generally good place to work.

    Its like annual comp review time. People make a fuss about their low increases but it dies out. Its only an issue if people continually complain about low tc throughout the year. Hopefully, Qualtrics is experiencing the former.
    Mar 22 3
    • Qualtrics nglomg
      That's pretty low for l4. I had 4 l4 offers outside of qualtrics were in the 250-280 range
      Mar 22
    • Qualtrics nglomg
      And qualtrics people always complain about low TC throughout the year you should see our channel
      Mar 22
    • Expedia Yeet_Code
      tc range varies. looking outside most often means higher tc, otherwise, why switch? For me, 190k-200k with 3 yoe is pretty good in my books.
      Mar 23
  • Well...SAP experts are also not happy...and with 10-20+ years of experience (top performers) are getting laid off left and right..just to cover up for this deal...pretty sad
    Mar 22 2
    • Qualtrics kCDf71
      I’d be interested to hear more about this. What are you/they unhappy about, and how do layoffs make up for it?

      All I hear is “everybody at SAP is so excited and loves us” but somehow I struggle to believe it.
      Mar 22
    • Compass / Product 905
      What kind of Experts?
      Apr 14
  • Qualtrics barnQ
    F*in great outcome for me and everyone I've talked to here. Recruiting is getting easier too and we are getting to maintain independency like Concur
    Mar 22 1
    • Qualtrics user1214
      Department and location?
      Mar 22
  • Toptal gOPQ83
    Didn’t Ryan smith still hold 92% of the company?
    Mar 21 0
  • Probably guaranteed money somewhere else and not much was trickled down.
    Mar 21 0
  • New setter
    Wait how can a sale 3X above valuation screw common holders? Is that because there were insane liquidation preferences? I’d be really curious to hear this one.
    Mar 21 0

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