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EXCLUSIVE-Palantir to seek at least $26 bln valuation in fundraising -sources

Joshua Franklin and Anirban Sen

Sept 20 (Reuters) - Palantir Technologies Inc is targeting a valuation of at least $26 billion in a private fundraising round, the first for the Peter Thiel-backed data analytics start-up in four years, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Palantir was valued at roughly $20 billion in its last private fundraising round in 2015. If successful, the fundraising would show that venture capital firms are continuing to drive the valuations of Silicon Valley unicorns' higher, even as stock market investors are pushing back.

Another darling of the start-up world, WeWork owner We Company, postponed its initial public offering (IPO) this week after it concluded that stock market investors may not even accept a third of the $47 billion valuation it attained in a private fundraising round in January. The office-sharing startup unnerved potential IPO investors with its widening losses and its founder's firm grip on the company.

Palantir is looking to raise between $1 billion to $3 billion, the sources said. It expects to command a valuation of between $26 billion and $30 billion, the sources added, requesting anonymity because the matter is confidential.

Palantir has held talks with a number of late-stage venture capital investors about participating in the latest fundraising round, including Japan's SoftBank Group Corp and sovereign wealth funds, according to the sources.

Palantir is working with Royal Bank of Canada and Morgan Stanley on the fundraising, one of the sources said. The company is considering an IPO in 2021 at the earliest, the sources said, cautioning the plans are still subject to change.

Palantir and Royal Bank of Canada declined to comment. Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Palantir has raised roughly $2.75 billion from investors to date, according to data provider PitchBook.

Palantir, whose customers range from global banks to the U.S. government and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), specializes in crunching and analyzing large quantities of data.

The company's technology aided the U.S. government's successful search for Osama bin Laden, according to multiple media reports. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York and Anirban Sen in Bengaluru, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)