© Reuters. A person poses in front of a banner featuring the logo of Palantir Technologies (PLTR) at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the day of their initial public offering (IPO) in Manhattan, New York City
(Reuters) – Shares of Palantir Technologies Inc (N:), the U.S. data analytics firm known for its work with the Central Intelligence Agency and other government bodies, jumped 38% in their market debut on Wednesday, valuing the company at nearly $22 billion.
Its shares traded at $10 apiece, compared with a reference price of $7.25 per share set by the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
The listing is a landmark moment for Palantir and puts an end to years of speculation about when the company, co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel in 2003, would ultimately go public and how much would it actually be worth.
Denver, Colorado-based Palantir is going public at a time of strong investor demand for new stocks, particularly of technology companies that promise rapid growth.
The company, led by CEO Alex Karp, has seen strong demand for its services, with revenue rising almost 50% to $481.2 million in the first six months of 2020 from the comparable period a year earlier.
However, it has yet to turn a profit in its 17 years of existence, posting a net loss of $164.7 million in the same period, down from a loss of $280.5 million a year earlier.
It was valued at $20 billion in a private fundraising round in 2015.
Palantir opted to go public through a direct listing rather than a traditional initial public offering (IPO), meaning it did not raise any money but allowed its investors to sell more shares.
Only two major companies – workplace messaging platform Slack Technologies Inc (N:) in 2019 and music-streaming service Spotify Technology SA (N:) in 2018 – have taken the direct-listing route previously.
Workplace software maker Asana Inc (N:) also went public on Wednesday through a direct listing and its shares opened up 29%.
Palantir analyzes large amounts of data for U.S. government defense and intelligence agencies, global banks and energy companies.
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