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Palantir Deepens Relationship With U.K. Ministry of Defence

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(Bloomberg) -- Data analytics company Palantir Technologies Inc. struck a 10 million-pound ($12.5 million) contract with the U.K. Ministry of Defence, the U.S. firm’s largest with the high-profile department.

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While much of the 12-month contract is redacted, Palantir will offer support for its Foundry platform, which lets users cut costs by automating work and reducing data-processing time.

The company, co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel and Alex Karp almost two decades ago, initially focused on selling software to U.S. government agencies and their allies. In the U.S., it works with the military’s Space Systems Command, among other Pentagon agencies, while in the U.K. it built a sizable relationship with the National Health Service during the pandemic.

The latest contract, awarded in March, is among a number of previous contracts with the MoD, which includes data integration services and an analytics deal with the Royal Navy.

A Palantir spokesperson said the company has been a partner to the Ministry of Defence for over a decade and “is committed to supporting the values of the U.K. Armed Forces.”

Palantir also recently hired Indra Joshi, the former head of artificial intelligence at the digital wing of Britain’s NHS.

The company’s relationship with vital government agencies has sometimes attracted criticism from privacy groups about the lack of transparency on how contracts are awarded. After lobbying from privacy campaigners, the U.K. government said it would consult with the public before extending contracts between the NHS and Palantir.

In an April interview on Bloomberg Television, Palantir Chief Operating Officer Shyam Sankar said European governments and groups are using its software to organize the distribution of materials such as food and beds to Ukrainian refugees who fled during the war. Palantir’s software is also being used to power military responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he said.

(Updated with Palantir statement)

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