Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, announced it will acquire Mobileye, for $63.54 per share, which has a fully-diluted equity value of $15.3 billion and an enterprise value of $14.7 billion. Mobileye is an Israeli company that makes sensors and cameras for driverless vehicles. The acquisition, which is already approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close within nine months.
A lot of people have been wondering why Intel would pay so much to acquire the company but report has it that it sees cars as “data centers on wheels,” generating as much as four terrabytes of data a day. And by acquiring Mobileye, whose digital vision technology helps autonomous vehicles safely navigate city streets, Intel aims to broaden its offerings beyond just chips to a wider suite of products that driverless vehicles will require. It hopes, as a result, to appeal to automakers that want to offer autonomous driving but lack the in-house expertise.
Mobileye and Intel are already working together, along with German carmaker BMW, to put 40 test vehicles on the road in the second half of this year. Intel expects the driverless market to be worth as much as $70bn by 2030.
Mobileye already sells its technology to 27 automakers, as well as to other automotive suppliers. It has a firm foothold within the car industry. Intel, meanwhile, has an automotive division, but it doesn’t have as many direct inroads into autonomous driving.
Over the last 18 months, Intel has signed partnership deals with BMW and Delphi Automotive, an auto parts supplier, to expand its presence in the field. It also acquired a 15 percent stake in Here, a digital mapping business owned by a consortium of German automakers, and announced last year that it would invest $250 million in start-ups working on driverless car technologies.