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UPDATE 3-DigitalGlobe closes debut session up 13 pct
* Shares close at $21.50, up 13.2 pct over offer
* IPO is 5th in row to get first-day pop (Updates stock price, adds background on prior first day performances, and byline)
By Phil Wahba
NEW YORK, May 14 (Reuters) - DigitalGlobe Inc (DGI.N) shares finished their inaugural trading session up 13.2 percent Thursday after jumping as much as 24 percent earlier in the day, making the initial public offering the fifth U.S. IPO in a row to get a first-day pop.
The satellite image company's shares closed at $21.50 on the New York Stock Exchange. They opened at $23, and traded as high as $23.50.
DigitalGlobe sold 14.7 million shares for $19 apiece, yielding a larger-than-expected $279.3 million in an IPO on Wednesday that had been heavily subscribed.
"Investors are willing to look at IPOs that can deliver returns in this slow period," said Matt Therian, an analyst with Connecticut-based research firm Renaissance Capital.
"It's a strong cash generator, has high margins, and the barriers to entry in the industry are high," he said, adding that the deal's success shows good deals can get done in a still-slow IPO market.
The DigitalGlobe IPO was the fifth of the year on a U.S. exchange and the second-largest since last July.
Earlier strong performances include the 40 percent jump by language software company Rosetta Stone Inc (RST.N) in its debut, and Chinese video game maker Changyou.com Ltd's (CYOU.O) 25 percent first day pop, both in April.
Two IPOs are on the calendar for next week: a $127 million deal by network software maker SolarWinds Inc (SWI.N) and a $39 million IPO by restaurant reservations system OpenTable Inc. SolarWinds and OpenTable are set to price next Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, with trading beginning the following morning.
DigitalGlobe, which is based in Colorado and supplies images to Google Maps and Microsoft's Virtual Earth, generated about 75 percent of its revenue from U.S. government contracts last year.
The company will have Boeing Co (BA.N) launch its third satellite into orbit in early autumn to replace one that is expected to reach the end of its operational life next year.
DigitalGlobe's sales rose 82 percent to $275.2 million in 2008, while net income fell by nearly half to $53.8 million because of a tax expense, according to a filing.
Lead underwriters for the IPO were Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and JP Morgan (JPM.N). (Reporting by Phil Wahba, editing Lisa Von Ahn and John Wallace; editing by Carol Bishopric)
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