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Palantir Buys Gold Bars as Hedge Against ‘Black Swan Event’

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·2 min read
Palantir Buys Gold Bars as Hedge Against ‘Black Swan Event’
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(Bloomberg) -- Palantir Technologies Inc. said it’s preparing for another “black swan event” by stockpiling gold bars.

The company spent $50.7 million this month on gold, part of an unusual investment strategy that also includes startups, blank-check companies and possibly Bitcoin.

Palantir had previously said it would accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. A spokeswoman for Palantir said no one has yet done so.

Embracing nontraditional currencies “reflects more of a worldview,” Shyam Sankar, the chief operating officer, said in an interview. “You have to be prepared for a future with more black swan events.”

The gold purchase was buried in a securities filing last week for its quarterly financial results and reported earlier this week by Barron’s. Palantir shares were up about 5% in intraday trading Wednesay.

Palantir’s 100-ounce gold bars will be kept in a secure location in the northeastern U.S., according to the filing. “The company is able to take physical possession of the gold bars stored at the facility at any time with reasonable notice,” Palantir wrote.

Palantir, co-founded by the technology billionaire Peter Thiel and Chief Executive Officer Alex Karp, makes software used by governments and businesses. It fashions itself as a company of free thinkers. Palantir relocated to Denver last year and mocked its peers in Silicon Valley on the way out. In the interview, Sankar compared Palantir’s culture with an “artist colony,” rather than a tech company churning out software on an assembly line.

Governments have strongly embraced Palantir software to help them make sense of the coronavirus pandemic, the current so-called black swan, a random and unpredictable event.

The company has some $2.3 billion in cash and is exploring creative uses for that money. Palantir said in May that it was considering investing in Bitcoin. And it’s taking stakes in startups that are customers of Palantir software, an approach that helped buoy sales results in the second quarter.

(Updates with shares in the fourth paragraph. In an earlier version of the story, the company corrected a misstatement that it would accept gold as a form of payment.)

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