SciQuest Chair and CEO Stephen Wiehe told Wall Street analysts that the e-procurement and related services company is on the prowl for acquisitions. But what are the opportunities? Are there good buys?

In a conference call about the company’s latest earnings, which were released earlier Thursday evening, Wiehe noted that SciQuest (Nasdaq: SQI) had hired its first chief marketing officer (Karen Sage. formerly of CA Technologies) and that he felt comfortable about where the company stands.

Then came questions about possible growth through acquisitions.

“So we’ve been very active on the acquisition side and we’ve had a very strong portfolio of deals. We were hoping to have gotten something close in the first quarter. Unfortunately of the ones that we really like there is a gap between their expectation in value and what we believe is a fair and logical rational price that we can pay,” Wiehe said in response to an inquiry from Peter Lowry of JMP Securities, according to a transcript from financial news website SeekingAlpha.

“And so we see a lot of opportunity for acquisitions. Where we struggle as finding assets that we believe that are good assets at what we think is a fair price. We’re still committed to doing more M&A throughout the year.”

Jackson Ader of JPMorgan Securities followed up with another question about possible buys: “Do you guys think you’re targeting more technology acquisition, technology expansion, geographic expansion or customer expansion when you’re looking at some of these M&A deals?”

“So I think you’ve correctly illustrated the order that we think of them as. Our first interest is technology. We believe we have a very strong installed base that has indicated a strong interest to buying additional products from us,” Wiehe responded.

“Our second interest is geographic. Our challenge has been we’ve struggled finding assets that we think are logical and rational outside our current geography.

“And then the third is customer base acquisitions. I’m not saying we would never do one but they tend to be a little lower in our priority because it’s difficult to get those clients off the old technology onto our platform and then you’re having to deal with legacy contracts.”

(You can read the full transcript of the conference call at:

SciQuest reported a slight increase in both revenue and its quarterly loss from a year ago.