Ariba to go public at $23

Look for a strong debut from Ariba Inc. (Nasdaq: ARBA), which on Tuesday priced its IPO above its previously expected range.

The maker of software for business buying will go public at $23 a share, lead underwriter Morgan Stanley Dean Witter said. Ariba had said it would price at $20 to $22 a share, a range that itself had been increased earlier this week from the original target of $16 to $18 a share.

Ariba has been cited by analysts as one of the "no brainer" IPOs of the week, because software/Internet infrastructure companies tend to do well.

Ariba makes "Internet-based business-to-business electronic commerce solutions for operating resources." In a nutshell, the software lets companies track operating expenses and other resources.

For the six months ending March 31, the company reported sales of $16.3 million and a loss of $8.1 million. Of that sum, $10.5 million was derived from licensing and $5.8 million was sales of services.

In its regulatory filings, the company mentions a host of competitors including Captura Software, Clarus, Commerce One, Concur Technologies, Extensity, GE Information Services, Intelysis, Netscape Communications and TRADE'ex Electronic Commerce Systems.

The company also expects to compete against Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), Peoplesoft (Nasdaq: PSFT) and SAP (NYSE: SAP).