Intel preparing to sell off $1.5 billion stake in Israel’s Mobileye

Computer chip giant to retain control in secondary offering of company, which has pioneered technology for self-driving cars



A self-driving vehicle from Mobileye’s autonomous fleet in Israel.

Since Mobileye Global, the Israeli developer of self-driving car technology, sold shares last year in an IPO, its stock price has doubled. Now Intel Corp. is planning a secondary offering to carve some profit from the pioneering automotive startup it bought six years ago for more than $15 billion.

Intel, one of the largest computer chipmakers, will sell 35 million shares in its Jerusalem-based subsidiary, a stake worth about $1.5 billion, with an option to sell another 5.25 million shares, Mobileye said in a June 5 filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are managing the sale, which will leave Intel solidly in control with more than 88% of the shares.

Mobileye is a world leader in creating software, semiconductor chips, cameras and sensory arrays to enable the development of self-driving vehicles. BMW, Volkswagen and Nissan are among its clients. Senior auto executives regularly make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to meet with Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua.

The company raised some $860 million in its IPO at the end of October, giving it a market value of about $21 billion after the first day of trading. That was well short of the $50 billion Intel had earlier expected as it was making preparations for the initial offering. Since then the stock price has nearly doubled from $21 a share to $41.77 at the end of last week as its market cap surged to $34 billion. The sale will give Intel cash at a time that it has announced plans to invest in artificial intelligence, vying with upstart competitors such as Nvidia.

Mobileye shares are likely to reach $50 a share over the 12 months, according to Canaccord Genuity, a Toronto-based investment bank, which initiated coverage of the company last week with a “buy” rating. In an analyst note, Canaccord described autonomous driving as  “one of the highest value-creating technologies to be deployed. Ever.”

Noting Mobileye’s “impressive growth indicators and long-term potential within its category,” the investment bank said the company has a “dominant” 70% share in the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) market, adding that “its advantageous position in the emerging full self-driving market further strengthens its prospects.”

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