Intel to acquire Israeli tech firm Mobileye for $14.7 billion

A device part of the Mobileye driving assist system is seen on the dashboard of a vehicle during a demonstration for the media in Jerusalem

Intel said: "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 auto". Intel is a tech company and works across the spectrum with everyone. Professor Amnon Shashua, who is one of Mobileye's co-founders and now serves as Chairman and CTO of the company, will lead this new division within Intel.

Intel estimates the vehicle systems, data and services market opportunity will reach $70 billion by 2030.

Speaking about the deal to unite Intel's processors with Mobileye's computer vision, Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich likened it to merging the "eyes of the autonomous auto with the intelligent brain that actually drives the car".

Mobileye generated $358 million in revenue past year and $108 million in net income, meaning it's getting taken out at 42.7 times sales and 141.7 times earnings.

Based on Intel stock's decline of almost 2% by midday in trading Monday, it appears investors are less than enamored with its deal for Mobileye. "Intel provides critical foundational technology for autonomous driving including plotting the car's path and making real-time driving decisions". The price represents a premium of around 33 percent to the Friday closing price of Mobileye's shares.

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Mobileye is Intel's second-biggest acquisition behind the purchase of Altera Corp. The company's offerings are already inside several semi-autonomous vehicles, including Tesla cars.

Mobileye focuses mostly on software for driverless cars, but also a few hardware solutions. The deal has been approved by the Intel and Mobileye Boards of Directors. By acquiring Mobileye, Intel is expanding its portfolio with products as diverse as cameras, sensor chips, in-car networking and roadway mapping, as well as machine learning solutions.

In its annual report for 2015, Mobileye said its products "were included in serial production vehicle models since 2007".

He called it "a great step forward for our shareholders, the automotive industry and consumers", adding: "Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving". The company announced a partnership with Intel and BMW two months ago to put a small fleet of fully-autonomous test cars on the road.

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