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Intel buys Israeli company in nation’s largest business deal

In a giant boost for Israel’s high tech industry, The American giant Intel Corporation announced last week that it plans to buy an Israeli advanced technology company, Mobileye, for $15.3 billion.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told reporters this deal was not only one of the largest acquisitions in Israel’s history but also the second largest buyout ever conducted by Intel.

The deal will take some nine months to complete, but the boards of directors have approved it.

“If you combine the two assets together, you get a very, very powerful proposition,” Mobileye founder Amnon Shashua said, discussing the benefits of the Intel buyout at a joint press conference. “In addition to our core skill sets, Intel has assets in mapping and infrastructure, assets in data centers, in artificial intelligence, in machine learning.”

The company’s headquarters will remain in Jerusalem, headed by Shashua. The deal is set to bring Israel around $1 billion in tax revenues as well as create some 3,000 Israeli jobs, Economic Minister Eli Cohen told reporters.

Speaking at the press conference, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also in attendance, Krzanich explained that Intel has been operating in Israel for 40 years and that the Mobileye deal emphasizes Intel’s regard for Israeli innovation.

“We think of ourselves as an Israeli company as much as a US company,” he added.

Founded in 1999 by Shashua and fellow Israeli Ziv Aviram, Mobileye is internationally renowned as a producer of driving assistance systems that use cameras and sensors to warn drivers of oncoming vehicles, pedestrians and obstructions. As the website explains: “Mobileye’s strength comes in part from our early realization that a single-lensed camera (mono-camera) would become the primary sensor to support Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and eventually Autonomous Vehicles. The mono-camera is the most versatile of sensing technologies, with the ability to identify shapes, like vehicles and pedestrians, as well as textures, like lane markings and traffic-sign text.”

In terms of innovation, the Mobileye assistance systems have been described as belonging in the same category as Israel’s famous drip irrigation systems.

Mobileye is also working with vehicle manufacturers to establish the first self-driving cars and trucks. In January, Mobileye announced that, in partnership with BMW and Intel, it was developing a fleet of autonomous vehicles to be tested on the roads later this year. The companies plan to have autonomous vehicles available for the public by 2021.

Buying Mobileye in such a large deal demonstrates Intel’s understanding that autonomous vehicles will increase road safety, improve city life and lower energy consumption, Krzanich said at last week’s press conference in Jerusalem.

“Then you will see and be radiant, And your heart will thrill and rejoice; Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, The wealth of the nations will come to you.”
Isaiah 60:5

Karen Faulkner
Karen Faulkner is a British Israeli citizen. She has a Master's degree in Human Rights & Transitional Justice from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

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