Palantir Technologies (NYSE: PLTR) shares surged as much as 18% Tuesday for a new record high of $18.75 after Point72 Asset Management LP, the hedge fund run by legendary investor Steve Cohen disclosed a purchase of 29.9 million shares. or a 2.6% stake, while Anchorage Capital Group acquired 2.95 million shares for a 0.3% stake in the data-analytics company.
That follows purchases by other high-profile investment funds including Soros Fund Management (SFM), which snapped up 18.5 million shares, valued at $175 million at the end of the third quarter, and Third Point, the firm led by activist investor Dan Loeb who took a position of 2.4 million shares.
Palantir stock has gained 94% in the last month, and more than 158% from the reference price of $7.25 that was set for the stock prior to its late September debut. These funds are apparently bullish on PLTR.
The interest however, seems to have offset Soros Fund Management, ran by George Soros. According to reports, Soros, known for his liberals leanings, is attempting to distance itself from Palantir, a software business company co-founded by tech-industrialist Peter Thiel, whose prominence in conservative political circles continues to rise.
The Denver-based Palantir, which sells data analysis tools to governments and companies, has been involved in controversies surrounding its work with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), the governmental unit tasked with tackling illegal immigration. Palantir is also developing artificial intelligence software capable of identifying potential targets through drone imagery interpretation and helping to target drone strikes.
Soros said in a statement Tuesday that it “does not approve of Palantir’s business practices” and that the investment was an early-stage one made back in 2012 by a portfolio manager who no longer works at Soros.
“SFM made this investment at a time when the negative social consequences of big data were less understood. SFM would not make an investment in Palantir today,” Soros said, according to Bloomberg.
SFM also said that “it is not legally or contractually obliged to hold and will continue to sell shares as permitted.”
While the market is focused on Cohen’s stake acquisition, investors should also think about Soros’ decision to do the opposite as an element that could affect, at least in the short term, the interest in the stock.
PLTR Price Action
Shares of Palantir have more than doubled from the day of their direct NYSE listing. The stock was up 2.13% to $18.23 in early trading on Wednesday. The company has a market cap of $34 billion.