Mobileye, Intel’s Driving Car Subsidiary, Soars in Its Nasdaq Debut | Economy

Mobileye returns to the stock market. The driver assistance company was already listed in Israel, where it was founded and has its operational headquarters, before being acquired by the technology giant Intel for some 15 billion dollars in 2017. Now, it has debuted on the Nasdaq, the market American technology firms. The shares have soared nearly 30%, giving the company a valuation of about $21.8 billion (a similar figure in euros).

The founder and CEO of Mobileye, Amnon Shashua, has launched a message to the company’s customers through an open letter: “Mobileye comes back to the public eye more visible and valuable than we were before. Under Intel ownership for the past five years, we’ve grown and prospered and are coming out of Intel bigger and stronger, and ready to deliver what you need from driver-assistive technology: everything from popular safety applications from today to the fully autonomous driving solutions of the future,” he says.

Intel set the price of the IPO at $21 per share, above the guidance band for the placement, which went from $18 to $20, due to strong demand. However, that band represented a very considerable reduction from the initial aspirations when the decision was made to take the company public again, at the end of last year, which pointed to a valuation of up to 50,000 million dollars. The economic slowdown, the harsh stock market punishment of technology stocks in recent months and the feeling that the market is not yet ready for autonomous cars forced the downgrade.

Founded in Israel

Mobileye was founded in 1999 by Professor Amnon Shashua, when he turned his academic research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem into a monocular vision system to detect vehicles using only a camera and software algorithms on a processor. The company’s creation followed Shashua’s connections with automakers through his former company Cognitens.

Following a pivotal meeting with an Asian component manufacturer, which secured funding for a proof of concept, Shashua teamed up with two of his close friends, Ziv Aviram and Norio Ichihashi. In a shared direction, Aviram took charge of operations, finance and investor relations, and Shashua of the company’s technology, R&D and strategic vision.

The company went public in Israel in 2014 with a valuation of about $5 billion. Following Intel’s purchase of Mobileye, Aviram stepped down and Shashua took over as CEO on his own. Ichihashi was responsible for the Asian market, where the company began operations.

The company serves more than 50 automakers. More than 800 vehicle models have come onto the market equipped with Mobileye systems, for a total of more than 125 million units. “Our dream is that all vehicles have driver assistance technology that saves lives. Together, we can make that vision a reality,” Shashua notes in his letter.

Aymo, the subsidiary of Alphabet, the Google group, and Amazon’s Zoox, are Mobileye’s main competitors in the development of technology for autonomous cars. With its current products, Mobileye’s turnover is still very limited, at 1,386 million dollars in 2021, with losses of 185 million, according to the placement prospectus, registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). , for its acronym in English). In the first half of this year it has billed 854 million dollars and has had losses of 93 million.

Mobileye’s IPO was the most anticipated of a year of placement drought that has punished the accounts of the big Wall Street banks. All in all, it is a small operation, of 990 million dollars (assuming that the oversubscription option is exercised and without discounting commissions), which represents a little more than 5% of the capital. After going public, Intel retains the absolute power of the company, monopolizing the shares with the highest voting rights, which gives it a majority of more than 99%.

The shares have moved during the session between 26.41 and 28.48 dollars. This last price represented a revaluation of more than 35% with respect to the placement, but then the gains have moderated. At the close, the rise was 29.6% to $27.21 per share.

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