* JV targeting large companies, Japanese govt
* Palantir approaching profitability - Thiel
* Thiel wants to keep Palantir private as long as possible
* SoftBank's recent investing "too aggressive" - Thiel (Adds executive comments in paragraphs 4-9)
By Jane Lanhee Lee and Sam Nussey
SAN FRANCISCO/TOKYO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Silicon Valley data analytics company Palantir Technologies Inc has established a joint venture with Japanese insurance holding company Sompo Holdings Inc that will initially focus on health and cybersecurity clients, Palantir said.
The joint venture, owned 50-50 by Palantir and Sompo, will service Japanese government as well as commercial clients, according to the privately held company, which was co-founded by well known tech investor Peter Thiel.
Palantir clients range from global banks to the U.S. government and the Central Intelligence Agency, and it specializes in analyzing large quantities of data. Its technology has been used in areas including aiding the U.S. search for Osama bin Laden, according to media reports.
Palantir will be close to or just profitable this year and profitable next year, Thiel said on Monday, adding he wants to keep the company private for as long as possible.
Founded in 2004, Palantir currently has 2,500 employees. The U.S. firm has raised roughly $2.75 billion from investors to date, according to data provider PitchBook.
Sources told Reuters in September that Palantir has held talks over a potential investment from SoftBank Group.
When asked about Masayoshi Son's SoftBank, Thiel praised the Japanese group's earlier investments but said it had been "a little bit too aggressive in the last few years".
SoftBank reported its first quarterly operating loss in 14 years this month as the value of its investments fell.
"It's incredibly hard to get this balance right between growth and unit economics," said Thiel, who is known for his tech investing credentials as a co-founder of PayPal and Facebook Inc's first major investor. (Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Himani Sarkar)