Tuesday, April 16, 2024

NCtrend: Finding fault with SciQuest

This isn’t the first time SciQuest Inc.’s shares, which lost half their value in four months, have tanked. Started as an eBay-style online exchange for scientific equipment in the mid-’90s, it went public in 1999. But its price plummeted from $90 to $1.25 after the dot-com bubble burst. Named CEO in 2001, Steve Wiehe transitioned SciQuest into a provider of procurement software. It went private in 2004, then public again in 2010 with a $57 million IPO, trading initially at $11.50. Shares peaked past $30 in mid-March as sales more than doubled in four years. But some big customers delayed signing contracts in the first quarter, forcing Wiehe to announce slower growth and lower earnings than expected, even as the number of new accounts increased. The stock slipped below $15 in July. “Our business is very much about large deals,” he told analysts, “and elephant hunting can be feast or famine.” Terry Tillman of Raymond James Financial Inc. cut his target price by 30% in May and 19% in July, writing that SciQuest “will likely remain in the penalty box until we see better growth results in the second half of 2014 and beyond.”


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