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Intel to Buy Israel’s Mobileye for Record $15 Billion in Drive for Autonomous Vehicles

American tech giant Intel confirmed its intent on Monday to acquire the Jerusalem-based autonomous driving company Mobileye for a record $15 billion, the biggest ever exit in Israeli history.

According to the agreement, Intel will launch a tender offer to acquire all of Mobileye’s issued and outstanding ordinary shares for $63.54 per share in cash, Globes reported. The deal has an equity value of about $15.3 billion and an enterprise value of $14.7 billion.

Intel will also move its entire automotive unit to Israel, where it will be headed by Prof. Amnon Shashua, Mobileye’s co-founder, chairman, and CTO.

The California-based chipmaker said in a statement that its acquisition of Mobileye, which develops sensors and cameras for driverless cars, will help “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 that the market for autonomous vehicles will be worth $70 billion by 2030.

“This acquisition is a great step forward for our shareholders, the automotive industry and consumers,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. “Intel provides critical foundational technologies for autonomous driving including plotting the car’s path and making real-time driving decisions. 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.”

Ziv Aviram, co-founder, president, and CEO of Mobileye, added that “[by] pooling together our infrastructure and resources, we can enhance and accelerate our combined know-how in the areas of mapping, virtual driving, simulators, development tool chains, hardware, data centers and high-performance computing platforms. Together, we will provide an attractive value proposition for the automotive industry.”

The deal was praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who tweeted, “Congratulations to Mobileye! Israeli genius, Israeli pride.”

“Israel is a superpower in knowledge, technology and innovation,” said MK Ofir Akunis, Israel’s minister of science, technology, and space.

“The fact that large international companies see potential in Israel and are seeking to acquire Israeli companies that lead their prospective fields is a source of national pride for our technological strength,” he added.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, praised Mobileye’s cutting-edge technology last year, even though the Israeli firm is competing with Google to produce the world’s first driverless car.

Mobileye is the central player in Israel’s burgeoning automotive technology sector, which hosts development centers for no less than four major car companies.

Israel Fisher, global economy reporter for The Marker, said on Monday that “you can see a line of executives from all around the world coming to Israel looking for automotive technology.”

Mobileye raised a record $890 million in its initial public offering in August 2014.

In March 2013, Shashua gave then-President Barack Obama a demonstration of Mobileye’s technology.

[Photo: Mobileye / YouTube ]