The company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “PLTR” just after 1:30pm ET at $10 a share, up from the reference price listed by the NYSE of $7.25 a share, which would have valued the company at nearly $16 billion, or below its $20 billion private market valuation. (Reference prices are guides for investors but do not dictate how the stock will open.)
Palantir’s stock was 50% above its reference price about 30 minutes into trading. It finished the day at $9.50, or 31% above the reference price.
In the 17 years since it was founded, Palantir Technologies has received financial backing from the Central Intelligence Agency, become one of the most valuable private companies in the United States, and earned a seat at the table alongside the biggest tech companies in meeting with President Donald Trump. Cofounder Peter Thiel, a member of the so-called “PayPal mafia” and a longtime Facebook board member, supported Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Named after the seeing stones in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel “The Lord of the Rings,” Palantir has two products that customers use to organize and glean insights from mounds of data: Gotham, which was initially developed for government clients, and Foundry, geared toward commercial clients.
Palantir, which provides governments and corporations with tools to help with everything from tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus to zeroing in on terrorists, stated in its prospectus that one of its goals is to “become the default operating system for data across the US government.”
Revenue from government contracts made up $345.5 million, or 53%, of its overall revenue in 2019. In the filing, Palantir said the US government agencies using its software include the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Veterans Affairs, Army, Navy and Air Force.