SciQuest, a Morrisville-based provider of e-procurement solutions, is being sold to a private equity firm in a deal valued at some $509 million.

The deal was announced early Tuesday.

SciQuest (Nasdaq: SQI) is publicly traded.

SciQuest’s board agreed to the sale, which values SciQuest shares at $17.75 – 34 percent higher than the shares’ closing price on Friday.

Shares surged Tuesday morning once the markets opening, climbing $4.48 or 34 percent to match the announced selling price.

In heavy trading, shares ended the day at $17.67, a 32.9 percent surge or $4.37. Nearly 7 million shares were traded – 35 times the average of 199,500.

The $17.67 close is a new 52-week high for SciQuest, which traded as low as $9.49 last October.

During the course of the day, seven law firms said they were looking into the sale, questioning whether the deal is adequate. Such pronouncements are often made when mergers and acquisitions are announced.

The deal, which is all cash, means SciQuest once again goes private with Accel-KKR owning 100 percent of its shares.

Under CEO Stephen Wiehe, SciQuest returned to the Nasdaq in 2010. He earlier had taken the company private.

  • [More coverage: Stephen Wiehe talks about the reasons to make the deal.]

The company launched in 1995 and went public for the first time in 1999. Its initial focus was as an ecommerce business-to-business exchange for scientific products.

SciQuest customers include government agencies and educational institutions.

“This transaction provides SciQuest’s stockholders with a significant premium over the pre-announcement market price and we believe it will allow us to increase our focus on long-term success that will benefit customers, employees, partners and suppliers,” Wiehe said in a statement.

“As a private company, we expect to continue to accelerate innovation, increase efficiency and expand our solution suite.”

Accel-KKR has been ain investor in the company.

“As long-standing and significant investors in SciQuest, we have been impressed by the breadth, depth and cohesiveness of the Company’s leading technology,” said Tom Barnds, Managing Director of Accel-KKR, in the sale announcement.

“We look forward to partnering with the SciQuest team to continue to accelerate innovation and bring value to customers in this large and growing market.”

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

However, SciQuest does have the right to seek a better deal over a 25-day “go-shop” period.

Accel-KKR would have the right to match any such offer.

SciQuest will keep its headquarters in Morrisville if the deal does close, the company said.

Backstory: A brief history of SciQuest

  • SciQuest Today

Today, we’re a leading provider of cloud-based business automation software for spend management, and we tailor our solution for each of the vertical markets we serve by offering industry-specific functionality, content and supplier connections. We help Higher Education, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Public Sector and Enterprise markets, as well as other industries, streamline business processes, improve contract compliance and capture value beyond savings.

  • 2013

In September 2013, we acquired CombineNet, a leading provider of advanced sourcing software to large companies with complex procurement needs. The acquisition expanded SciQuest’s strategic sourcing footprint with an advanced, cloud-based tool that improves procurement decisions for spend categories that are typically beyond the capabilities of traditional eSourcing software.

  • 2012

In August 2012, we acquired Upside Software, Inc., and their contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution. This acquisition deepened our offerings in contract lifecycle management technology, which is an important aspect of a complete procure-to-pay solution and servicing large companies with complex requirements.

In October 2012, we acquired Spend Radar LLC, a rapidly growing provider of fast, easy and flexible spend analysis software. The acquisition represented further progress against our goal of strengthening our strategic position as a leading provider of spend management software.

  • 2011

In January 2011, we acquired all of the capital stock of AECsoft, a leading provider of supplier management and sourcing technology. AECsoft’s technology was incorporated into our product offering with Total Supplier Manager, Sourcing Director and Supplier Diversity Manager modules, delivering a comprehensive procurement solution suite to our customers.

  • 2010

In September 2010, we completed an initial public offering of our common stock, raising net proceeds of approximately $51 million prior to the redemption of our outstanding preferred stock for $36 million.

  • 2001-2004

In 2001, we brought in a new management team, exited the business-to-business exchange model and began selling our on-demand strategic procurement software and supplier enablement solution.

Since 2001, we have focused on developing our current on-demand business model, building out our technology, acquiring a critical mass of customers in our higher education and life sciences vertical markets, and selectively expanding our solution to serve the healthcare and state and local government markets.

SciQuest was subsequently taken private in 2004.

  • 1995-1999

SciQuest was founded in 1995 as an eCommerce business-to-business exchange for scientific products.

Conducted an initial public offering in 1999.

Source: SciQuest