Intel Buying Self-Driving Car Company Mobileye

March 13, 2017
By: Paula Bernier

Intel (News - Alert) is buying Israeli self-driving car company Mobileye NV for $15.3 billion. The $63.54 a share offer represents a 34 percent premium to Mobileye’s Friday closing price.

Shares of Mobileye rose 31 percent in the wake of the announcement. Meanwhile, Intel shares fell 1.1 percent.

Mobileye is one of the more noteworthy players in the connected transportation space. The Jerusalem-based company, which was founded in 1999, raised $890 million in its first few days on the New York Stock Exchange in August of 2014, resulting in a market cap of $7.85 billion.

The company makes chip-based camera systems. And it had already been working together with BMW AG and Intel. The trio has been road testing 40 self-driving cars.

Of course, BMW, Intel, and Mobileye are just a few of the companies that have been hard at work to put self-driving cars on the road. Alphabet, Tesla, and Uber also are working on such efforts, as are the big car brands. For example, GM last year spent $1 billion to buy Cruise Automation.

But self-driving cars are just one category of the larger connected transportation space. Other connected transportation categories include asset tracking, driver behavior, heavy and medium trucking, insurance, leasing/rental/car sharing, light commercial, and stolen vehicle recovery.

In the last 36 months, at any given time, there have been two to four active deals in the IoT transportation space, which includes consumer and enterprise segments, Homaira Akbari, CEO of AKnowledge Partners, told me in an interview in mid 2016.  She added there were at least five active sales negotiations in the U.S. alone when we spoke on June 13. And since 2012, there have been around 30 acquisitions with a valuation of at least $20 million in this space, she added.

For example, HERE, a division of Nokia (News - Alert) focused on mapping data for the IoT, in August of 2015 sold for 2.8 billion Euros ($3.2 billion), making it a unicorn, said Akbari. The buyer was a consortium of the German automobile companies Audi, BMW, and Daimler.

And in IoT Evolution magazine’s fourth quarter 2016 issue, analyst James Brehm noted Verizon’s list of acquisitions in the telematics space.

“With an influx of private equity money in IoT, 25 percent plus CAGR, more than 1,000 companies participating in the market, and relatively low interest rates, M&A is sure to be a theme of the industry well into 2017,” Brehm wrote.

Edited by Alicia Young