Palantir Technologies, the data analytics company co-founded in 2004 by well-known tech investor Peter Thiel, has confidentially filed for a public listing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, suggesting it was contemplating a direct-to-exchange IPO.
In a brief statement, the Palo Alto, California, company said it has confidentially submitted a draft registration statement on Form S-1 with the SEC for the proposed public listing of its Class A common stock.
The public listing is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions. Bloomberg initially reported in mid-June that Palantir executives were prepping to file for the IPO.
Palantir, which sells software to aggregate big data for governments and corporations worldwide, has been mulling a public offering for more than a decade. The company’s analytics were credited with helping the U.S. government capture Osama bin Laden.
Despite its high profile, Palantir has had difficulty turning a profit, according to reports. The direct-listing route is a way to monetize the value of its existing stock, currently in the hands of employees and other private backers, without going through the more expensive listing process that involves investment banking fees.
Palantir has been valued privately at as much as $20 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Under traditional accounting principles, Palantir’s revenue last year was under $750 million, two investors have said.
Palantir's software is also used by cyber security experts as well as hedge funds and other financial services firms. Palantir’s funders include Founders Fund, the venture capital firm started by former PayPal founder Thiel.
Other investors include Morgan Stanley, BlackRock and Tiger Global Management.
Dozens of law enforcement and government agencies globally use Palantir to compile and search for data on citizens with the intent of combating crime, hunting terrorists and in recent months, tracking the spread of Covid-19, according to Bloomberg.
However, the killing of George Floyd and protests over racial injustice, in particular over racial profiling and bias among police and others, has shed light on using technology and software like Palantir’s to glean information about individuals and companies.