(Bloomberg) -- Palantir Technologies Inc.’s bankers have told investors that its shares could start trading at about $10 each, which would value the data-mining company at almost $22 billion on a fully diluted basis, Dow Jones reports, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.
Palantir is planning to go public on Sept. 30 through a direct listing, an alternative to a traditional initial public offering in which the company doesn’t issue new shares to raise capital. Rather, current investors can place their shares on the market when trading begins.
A representative for Palantir declined to comment.
The company was previously valued by investors in 2015 at $20 billion, but its estimated valuation had fallen in the years since. This month, research firm PitchBook valued Palantir at $8.8 billion.
Unlike a traditional IPO, no shares of a company in a direct listing are sold until they start trading on the exchange. Bankers advising the firm -- but not underwriting the shares -- help determine a so-called reference price, which is needed for the shares to begin trading.
In both of the only major direct listings to have been held previously, the prices at the opening bell exceeded the reference prices, increasing the market value of the companies. Spotify Technology SA began trading at $165.90 a share in its 2018 direct listing, after its advisers set the reference price at $132. Last year, Slack Technologies Inc. had a reference price of $26 and opened at $38.50.
Asana Inc., a workplace collaboration software maker, is planning to go public via a direct listing on the same day as Palantir.
Palantir, named for the all-seeing stones in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” was founded in 2003. The company was backed by In-Q-Tel, the venture investing arm of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, one of its first customers.
Co-founder Peter Thiel has become a controversial figure in the left-leaning tech industry, partly because of his support of President Donald Trump.
Palantir, which moved its headquarters to Denver from California, has also been a frequent target of criticism over the use of its technology for surveillance purposes by the Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency and a handful of police agencies, as well as by governments outside the U.S.
Like many tech companies going public, Palantir has never been profitable. The company lost $580 million in 2019. It has projected more than $1 billion revenue this year, and has said it will turn a profit on an adjusted basis excluding stock compensation this year.
(Updates with details of Palantir’s plans starting in second paragraph)
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