Oracle Once Talked to Palantir About a Potential Acquisition
Larry Ellison, co-founder and former chief executive of Oracle, talked with Palantir Technologies chairman Peter Thiel last year about a potential acquisition of the secretive cybersecurity startup.
Bloomberg reported the talks on Wednesday, citing court testimony from Palantir investor Marc Abramowitz who is suing the company. Fortune was able to separately verify some of the details.
Abramowitz told a Delaware judge that Thiel, also an early Palantir investor, met with Ellison in 2016 to discuss a possible deal. Abramowitz and another Palantir backer, former Walt Disney (DIS) executive Michael Ovitz, set up the Thiel-Ellison confab, according to the report.
Oracle (ORCL), the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based business software giant, is known for acquisitions big and small. Last year, for example, Oracle paid $9.5 billion to buy NetSuite.
Palantir would likely be an even bigger deal. The company has more than $2 billion in funding, and as of two years ago, it was valued at about $20 billion. Last year, however, Morgan Stanley (MS) marked down its stake in Palantir by 32%, which could be a reflection of startup valuations in general—or Palantir’s, in particular.
The Palo Alto-based company sells data mining software and services to intelligence and law enforcement agencies—at least as far as anyone can tell. As noted, Palantir doesn’t disclose much, at least not willingly. The software reportedly searches through massive sets data to find patterns that, in theory, help intelligence agencies track terrorists and financial services firms to detect fraud. Oracle, which leads the market in database sales, also sells a lot of software to this type of customer.
Abramovitz also testified that he had heard Goldman Sachs (GS) had pitched a potential Palantir IPO worth $30 billion in 2015, Another source close to the matter tells Fortune that the Goldman talks did occur, but no offer was made. At that time, the IPO was thought to be worth between $30 billion and $50 billion. This source also said that Thiel met with Ellison at Ellison’s request.
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The bad blood between the Palantir investor and the company itself goes back a bit. Last fall, Palantir sued Abramowitz, charging that asked the company for confidential information about cyber-insurance and clinical drug trials projects, and then turned around to file for patents based on that information.
Then, in March, Abramowitz sued Palantir, charging that it had stymied his attempt to sell his shares. As part of that litigation, he requested the company’s financial records.
Neither Oracle, Palantir, nor Goldman Sachs would comment for this story.
Note: (June 29, 2017 3:05 p.m. ET) This story was updated to add Goldman Sachs’ response