While the valuation was lower than the $20 billion that Palantir fetched in a 2015 private fundraising round, the reference price is not an offering price for investors to purchase shares, but rather a benchmark for performance when the stock starts trading on the stock exchange on Wednesday.
Two previous high-profile direct listings – Spotify in 2018 and Slack in 2019 – had started trading significantly above their reference prices.
Palantir opted to go public through a direct listing rather than a traditional initial public offering (IPO). This meant the company did not raise any money, but current investors are able to sell more shares.
Palantir shares are set to start trading on the NYSE on Wednesday under the symbol “PLTR.” The opening public price will be determined by buy and sell orders collected by the NYSE from broker-dealers.
Palantir, co-founded in 2003 by billionaire Peter Thiel, is among 2020’s most eagerly anticipated public listings. Known for its secretive contracts with the Central Intelligence Agency and other government groups, there has been much conjecture about how much Palantir is actually worth and whether investors will view it as a lucrative software provider or a less-glamorous consulting business.
The Denver, Colorado-based company has yet to turn a profit. It reported a net loss of $164.7 million for the first six months of 2020, down from a loss of $280.5 million a year earlier. Revenue over the same period rose almost 50% to $481.2 million.