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Thiel: Airbnb is worth more than Uber; no tech bubble

The lack of frenzied dot-com IPOs luring retail investors to sky-high valuations means that there's no bubble in the sector, PayPal founder and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel said Wednesday.

"I don't think we have a bubble in technology. This is nothing like the '90s," he said. "The great tech companies have learned to stay private and there's no bubble because bubbles only happen when the public is involved."

Thiel said that tech companies were the subject of "private debates among private investors because the companies have learned not to go public."


Peter Thiel, co-founder of Palantir.
Photographer | CNBC
Peter Thiel, co-founder of Palantir.

Companies don't go public, he added, because those that did so "got punished with Sarbanes-Oxley. You got punished by Wall Street focusing too much on the quarterly earnings cycle."

Thiel made the comments on CNBC's "Halftime Report" from Dublin, where he is attending the tech industry's annual European conference, Web Summit 2014, which runs through Thursday.

He also emphasized that the long-term margins were higher on home-sharing website Airbnb, making it more competitive than ride-sharing start-up Uber, which he said has had a "phenomenal run."

"The context I've argued is that I think Airbnb is worth more than Uber," Thiel added. "Uber's in a very competitive space."

Read MoreDot-com veteran: There's no bubble now

Thiel, who was named to the CNBC 25 Next List this year, is a managing partner at Founders Fund, chairman of Clarium Capital, and founder and chairman of Palantir. He co-founded PayPal in 1998 and was its CEO.

While noting the wild swings in Amazon.com's stock price since it became public, Thiel expressed faith in CEO Jeff Bezos.

"On the long term, I would not bet against Bezos. I think he's one of the great entrepreneurs of our time," he said. "And I think great companies should not be profitable right away. They should have ideas. They should have ways they can invest their money in the future."

Amazon, he added, could be cash flow positive but chooses to invest in its future.

"And I think that's both a good thing for the world and a good thing for Amazon as a business," he said. "Wall Street is always too biased toward short-term profitability and biased against long-term growth."

Tim Cook 'courageous'

Thiel also praised Apple CEO Tim Cook for his decision to announce publicly that he is gay.

"It was a very courageous move on his part," he said. "I think it's always good for gay people to come out, but it's also understandable why people might choose not to do so."

Read MoreApple's Tim Cook: 'I'm proud to be gay'

U.S. 'in the Middle Ages'

Asked to comment on the recent U.S. midterm elections, which saw control of the Senate go to Republicans, Thiel criticized the nation's science and technology policies.

"I'm probably somewhat more sympathetic to the Republicans because I care a lot about the fiscal issues, but I think as far as technology goes, both parties are in the Middle Ages," he said. "They don't understand that solar panels don't work at night. Or that wind doesn't work when the wind doesn't blow."

Government, he added, had become "a reactionary force in our society. It's basically something that slows down technology, that regulates it and stops it from happening."

Read MoreThiel: We are in a government bubble of massive size

Were he to spend more time in Washington, Thiel said that he "would be endlessly frustrated by the gridlock, how nothing ever gets done, how problems are never solved.

"And so, I spend my focus in Silicon Valley, where I think people are working on solving real problems and are really working on building a better future."

Duking it out with Bill Gurley

Earlier this week, Thiel's views on Uber came under fire from Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bill Gurley.

Read MoreVCs Bill Gurley, Peter Thiel clash over Uber

Thiel had contended that the privately held Uber was overvalued.

"Investors are always biased to invest in things they themselves understand. So venture capitalists like Uber because they like driving in black town cars," he said last month. "They don't like Airbnb because they like staying in five-star hotels, not sleeping on people's couches."

Read MoreUber is 'ethically challenged': Peter Thiel

Gurley, one of Uber's backers, fired back.

"It's the fastest-growing company we've ever been involved with," he said. "That's why, when the company was, you know, put in front of a large number of investors, that you ended up with the valuation that it did."

—CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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