* Deal agreed by both boards, expected to close in Q1 2019
* SAP raises 7 billion euros to cover cash deal
* Deal struck days before Qualtrics had been due to float (Adds CEO comments, background)
FRANKFURT, Nov 12 (Reuters) - SAP said on Sunday it was buying Qualtrics International Inc for $8 billion in cash, pre-empting a planned stock market listing by the U.S. firm that specializes in experience management.
For the German software house, the agreed takeover provides a real-time window on the sentiment of consumers, complementing Chief Executive Bill McDermott's push from its traditional back-office products into sales and marketing.
"SAP and Qualtrics are joining forces because the future of business is experience management," McDermott told reporters on a conference call.
For Qualtrics, which gathers online customer data and feedback for 9,000 businesses around the world, the deal marks a dramatic outcome just days before the 16-year-old firm was due to launch a far smaller initial public offering of stock.
"This week was the week that we were ringing the bell," said Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, who will continue to lead the business, which will retain its dual headquarters in Provo, Utah, and Seattle.
SAP will acquire all of the outstanding shares in Qualtrics and has secured 7 billion euros ($7.9 billion) in financing to cover the purchase price and acquisition-related costs. The deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close in the first half of 2019. ($1 = 0.8835 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Peter Cooney)