Intel just paid a staggering $15.3 billion to acquire Mobileye, which was publicly trading at $10.5 billion before the deal was announced this morning. The Israeli company, which was best known by the public as one of the main supplier for Tesla’s first generation Autopilot program, will solidify Intel’s effort in the field of autonomous driving. 

The chipmaker already had a partnership with Mobileye for the development of self-driving technology and it is currently the biggest private employer in Israel.

It makes the acquisition more natural, but the price paid shows serious confidence in Mobileye’s tech by Intel.

The company turned a significant profit of $108 million last year on $350 million in revenue from the sales of its driver assist systems to almost all major automakers in the world. But its $10 billion valuation was already seen as extraordinarily high for the prospect of revenue. $15 billion brings the valuation to an all-time high for Mobileye.

George ‘Geohot’ Hotz, who claimed to have a short position on Mobileye’s stock, could have lost a chunk of money on that deal.

Hotz has been a vocal detractor of the company – claiming that their success is linked to lobbying regulators:

“There’s this company called Mobileye and their job is to work with regulators to lower the safety ratings of cars that do not have a Mobileye chip in them. They recently discontinued their agreement to work with Tesla — Yes, autopilot was not developed in-house, they used this third-party chip called EyeQ— because Tesla was too innovative and it scared them. After the accident, Mobileye got scared and they want no part of innovation.”

The public breakup of Tesla and Mobileye happened differently depending on who you are talking to about it.

Mobileye CTO Amnon Shashua claimed that Tesla was “pushing the envelope in terms of safety” as Hotz explained, but Tesla issued a scathing response alleging that Tesla already planned to discontinue Mobileye’s system and that the Israeli company used some questionable methods to force Tesla to use their system for future generations of the Autopilot.

While Mobileye can’t count Tesla has a client anymore, their systems are powering an impressive number of driver assist features in vehicles today. They claim to do business with about 90% of OEMs.

Intel’s press release:

Intel and Mobileye announced on March 13 that they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Intel will acquire Mobileye. Under the terms of the agreement, a subsidiary of Intel will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding ordinary shares of Mobileye for $63.54 per share in cash, representing a fully-diluted equity value of approximately $15.3 billion and an enterprise value of $14.7 billion.

The acquisition will couple the best-in-class technologies from both companies, including Intel’s high-performance computing and connectivity expertise and Mobileye’s leading computer vision expertise to create automated driving solutions from the cloud through the network to the car.

The combination is expected to accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the fast-growing market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles. Intel estimates the vehicle systems, data and services market opportunity to be up to $70 billion by 2030. The transaction extends Intel’s strategy to invest in data-intensive market opportunities that build on the company’s strengths in computing and connectivity from the cloud, through the network, to the device.

 

 

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