Controversial Data Company Palantir Goes Public Next Week”

 We don’t really know what the company is worth…

When Palantir raised $880 million in 2015, it sold shares at a price that valued the business at an impressive $20.3 billion. Five years later, it is far from clear what the company is worth.

In its registration statement, Palantir said it has about 2.17 billion shares outstanding, including unvested options and restricted stock. It also details the prices those shares are trading at on private markets. More than 35 million shares traded in the current quarter through Sep. 1, at an average transaction price of $6.45 per share.

That implies a total equity value of about $14 billion.

Private market prices are notoriously unreliable, and averages can be deceiving. In the current quarter, the shares have traded for as little as $4.17 apiece, and as much as $11.50. That would put Palantir’s equity value at anywhere from about $9 billion to $25 billion. The average price on Sep. 1, the last day of private trading, was $9.17, getting the company within range of that $20 billion number.
…or even what to compare it to
Palantir Technologies, a Peter Thiel-backed data analytics company best known for working with government spy agencies, is preparing to trade on public markets for the first time on or around Sep. 23.
Palantir, though secretive, has attracted a lot of buzz through the years. And Thiel has a strong reputation as a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in both Facebook and Microsoft’s LinkedIn. Those investments have paid off handsomely for shareholders.
Should investors buy Palantir? Here’s what you need to know before you do.
This won’t be a normal IPO
Palantir will not launch a traditional initial public offering, instead planning a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. While an IPO typically involves the sale of a block of shares via underwriters, in a direct listing, existing holders including founders, venture firms, and vested employees sell shares on the exchange.
Direct listings are a lot simpler than IPOs and involve fewer restrictions, but they can also be riskier. They are missing the underwriting banks that connect companies with big-money institutional interest, come up with a price range for the shares, and backstop the offering in the event of a lack of interest.
Direct listings are typically used by companies with no significant need for capital, and who already have a well-established name or reputation in the market. In recent years

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