US data analytics company Palantir Technologies was working on a secret strategy to strengthen its ties with the NHS, according to emails and a strategy document seen by Bloomberg.
The company wanted to buy out smaller competitors that already had a connection to the health service. This would potentially allow Palantir – the secret CIA-funded data mining company created by Paypal billionaire Peter Thiel – to work with one of the largest health data repositories in the world, without attracting the attention of the audience.
Palantir Regional Head Louis Mosley revealed the approach in an email titled “Buying our way in…!” in September 2021.
He discussed the “aspiration” of small businesses that serve the NHS to “take a lot of ground and eliminate a lot of political resistance”.
Mosley listed the qualities of suitable takeover targets in the UK, including sales of software services to the NHS; reputable leadership; and an annual turnover of between £5 million and £50 million.
The email said the founders would be offered a “quite generous buyout plan (say 10x, especially if full equity)”.
Palantir would pay the founders for their stock ownership if they migrated all of their services to Foundry, the company’s primary data-processing platform designed to compile data from many sources.
Mosley claimed that Palantir might be the targets’ only legitimate starting option.
Palantir has won more than £37million in NHS and Department of Health and Social Care contracts since 2020, according to a Bloomberg report citing public expenditure tracker AdviceCloud.
Palantir is looking for a new way to develop links with the NHS
The NHS engaged Palantir in 2020 to help with the response to Covid-19. However, the relationship faced legal challenges, and the government eventually backed away from extending it. Since then, the company has looked for new ways to develop its relationship with the National Health Service.
Founded in 2003 with backing from the CIA, Palantir helps organizations analyze large volumes of data from governments and other sources to gain valuable insights.
However, civil liberties organizations – in the UK and elsewhere – are concerned about Palantir’s track record of providing its tools to government agencies.
Palantir are currently seeking an NHS contract worth a total of £360m, which is currently out to tender.
While Palantir has yet to be successful in its supplier acquisition plans, the documents seen by Bloomberg show how the company is looking to strengthen its relationship with the NHS through possible acquisitions and strategic NHS recruitment.
Palantir spokesman Ben Mascall said Bloomberg that “Palantir exists to help the most important institutions solve their biggest challenges, and there is none more important in the UK than the NHS.
“Palantir has already helped the NHS improve the lives of millions of people. We want to do more and we make no apologies for that.”
He pointed out that intelligence and defense organizations around the world trust Palantir’s software to protect sensitive data.
NHS England spokesman James Kell said future contracts would be awarded through an open and transparent process, with strict criteria such as ensuring data is kept safe and within the NHS.
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