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Saba soars in IPO

Learning e-market software firm Saba Software Inc. (Nasdaq: SABA) shot up 18 to 33 on Friday after pricing 4 million shares at $15 a piece, above its range of $12 to $14 a share.

The company, which provides software and services that help businesses train employees, is expected to do well based on its top-notch list of customers and strong demand in the Internet-based learning category.

In a wrap up of the first quarter's IPOs, online education was one of the hottest sectors, said Kenan Pollack of IPO Central.

DigitalThink (Nasdaq: DTHK), which provides online learning courses and services fared well in its February debut. Other online learning companies include (Nasdaq: CLKS), SmartForce (Nasdaq: SMTF) and (Nasdaq: FATB).

Pollack said the deal should do well considering 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS), Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and GE (NYSE: GE) are Saba clients.

Saba's loss, however, outweighs its revenue -- net loss for the year ended May 31 was $10.9 million on revenue of $1.9 million. For the six months ended Nov 30, revenue was up to $5.2 million.

The company said its revenue is concentrated in its two largest customers, Ford (NYSE: F) and US West (NYSE: USW); during the six months ended Nov. 30, each accounted for more than 10 percent of total revenue.

There will be about 42.1 million shares outstanding in the company after the offering, which is being underwritten by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co.