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SciQuest IPO slated for this week

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Shares of SciQuest are expected to begin trading publicly as soon as this week, marking a return to Wall Street for the Cary technology company.

SciQuest filed for an initial public offering of stock in March. Company officials, including CEO Stephen Wiehe, have been meeting with mutual-fund managers and other big investors in New York, Chicago, Baltimore and other cities during the past two weeks to persuade them to bet on SciQuest's prospects.

The IPO is expected to happen Thursday evening, allowing SciQuest shares to begin trading on Friday. Any number of factors could delay the deal, including volatility on the broader stock market.

But if successful, SciQuest's IPO would be the first for a Triangle tech company in years, and could attract renewed attention to this region as a hotspot for promising corporate ventures.

"It's a small deal, but the gossip is the deal looks to be in good shape," said John E. Fitzgibbon Jr., publisher of IPOScoop.com in Edison, N.J.

SciQuest plans to sell up to 6.9 million shares at $9.50 to $11.50 each, the company indicated in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Officials could tweak the terms of the deal before it's finalized, depending on investor demand.

Much of the money raised would help repay SciQuest's owners. But some money also will be invested in improving technology, winning new customers and seeking possible acquisitions.

The company sells software that allows universities, pharmaceutical companies and other customers buy supplies and services cheaper online. Revenue rose to $20.7 million during the first six months of this year, up 19 percent from a year earlier.

SciQuest first held an IPO during the height of the dot-com boom in 1999, but its shares stumbled as investors fled money-losing tech stocks. A buyout took the company private in 2004.

This time, the company plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "SQI."

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About the blogger

Assistant Business Editor Alan M. Wolf joined the N&O in 1999 covering the business of health care. He became an editor in 2001, and helps oversee the paper's daily business coverage and Sunday Work&Money section. He lives in Clayton with his wife and two children. Reach him at 919-829-4572 or e-mail him.
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