Data Digger Attracts Yale

David Swensen has moved Yale University’s endowment away from listed American stocks over the years. He favors foreign stocks, private equity, hedge funds, natural resources—these account for over 90% of the portfolio.

But once in a while the endowment picks a domestic company. Recently, it bought around 101,000 shares in Splunk Inc., an IT firm that had its initial public offering in 2012 and trades on Nasdaq. Why did the Yale team choose this one from numerous IT companies?

Splunk software collects, searches and analyzes large volumes of data generated by machines, such as computer clicks and online transactions. The firm says its product can be used in government, healthcare, financial services, retail and higher education, among others. Potentially that is a big market.

But the really interesting news about Splunk is that it may be on IBM’s acquisition list. Earlier this month IBM bought the software portfolio of Star Analytics. On that occasion, IBM indicated that there are growing challenges in dealing with various types of data.

Splunk the machine data digger may fit IBM’s acquisition agenda. The computer giant isn’t saying, but Yale stands to make good money if Splunk becomes a target.


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