Intel Corp. has announced that it will be acquiring Mobileye NV, an Israel-based company specializing in chips for vision-based autonomous vehicles, in a deal valued at approximately $15.3 billion. An Intel subsidiary will buy all Mobileye shares for $63.53 per share in cash, according to a joint company press release from Mar. 13.
When finalized – which is expected to occur within the next nine months – the acquisition will be the seventh largest acquisition of all time in the tech industry.
“The acquisition of Mobileye brings together the assets of Intel’s Xeon processors, FPGAs, 3D XPoint memory, and 5G modems with the world leader in automotive computer vision,” says Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in an email to employees on Mar. 13. “This acquisition essentially merges the intelligent eyes of the autonomous car with the intelligent brain that actually drives the car.”
The move comes as Intel ramps up investment in the automotive industry to become a leader in self-driving technology. Intel estimates that the vehicle systems, data and services market could exceed $70 billion by 2030, and that autonomous vehicles will generate 4,000 GB of data per day by 2020.
“Intel provides critical foundational technologies for autonomous driving including plotting the car’s path and making real-time driving decisions,” Krzanich explains. “Mobileye brings the industry’s best automotive-grade computer vision and strong momentum with automakers and suppliers. Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers.”
He stresses that autonomous vehicles are key to Intel’s future strategy of being the driving force behind “the data revolution across every technology and every industry.”
However, the transaction is unique in the sense that instead of Mobileye being integrated into Intel like a typical acquisition, “Intel’s Automated Driving Group will be integrated into Mobileye,” says Ziv Aviram, the company’s cofounder, president and CEO, in a Mar. 13 email to employees.
The deal will create a global autonomous driving organization that will be headquartered in Israel and led by Amnon Shashua, Mobileye’s other cofounder, as well as chairman and CTO. The group “will support both companies’ existing production programs and build upon relationships with automotive OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers, and semiconductor partners to develop advanced driving assist, highly autonomous and fully autonomous driving programs.”
Aviram and Shashua will continue to run the company as usual, according to the company’s email, and that all of Mobileye’s relationships with customers will remain uninterrupted.
“Intel is not looking to have their people come in and run Mobileye – but that being said, there is much to learn from Intel’s experience, culture, expertise and resources in many fields tangential to our own and we plan to embrace this opportunity to learn and tap into their knowledge,” Aviram adds.
Aviram adds that by pooling its resources with Intel’s infrastructure, it “can enhance and accelerate our combined know-how in the areas of mapping, virtual driving, simulators, development tool chains, hardware, data centres and high-performance computing platforms.”