Intel says it intends to take its Israeli self-driving-car unit Mobileye public in the US in mid 2022, via an initial public offering (IPO) of newly issued Mobileye stock.

Intel today announced that Mobileye has confidentially submitted a draft registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its proposed initial public offering of newly issued Mobileye common stock,” the chip giant said in a statement.

It said that the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.

IPO filing

The move is not unexpected.

It comes after Intel in December last year said it would take its Israeli self-driving-car unit Mobileye public in the US, in mid 2022.

It said at the time that the IPO move had the full backing of its board of directors.

This point about board backing was important, Intel has been under intense pressure from activist inventors in recent times.

Hedge fund Third Point for example urged Intel in December 2020 to explore its strategic alternatives going forward, and in January it was announced that CEO Bob Swan was to step down, and he was replaced by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger in February 2021.

Under Gelsinger’s leadership, Intel unveiled a $20 billion turnaround plan so it could build two new chip factories in Arizona and other parts of the world, as well as opening up its chip making factories for outside customers.

At the same time Intel remained committed to compete in the autonomous vehicle sector, as evidenced when it carried out the biggest technology takeover in Israel’s history, with the $15.3 billion acquisition of driverless car specialist Mobileye in 2017.

Intel said it fully intends to remain the majority owner of Mobileye, and the two companies will continue as strategic partners, collaborating on projects as they pursue the growth of computing in the automotive sector.

Factory funding

Intel will use the proceeds from the IPO to help fund the building of more chip factories, Reuters reported.

In December, Reuters and other media outlets reported that the IPO could value Mobileye at more than $50 billion, although Mobileye may now struggle to get the same valuation given the recent market volatility, people familiar with the matter said.

Post floatation, the Mobileye executive team are expected to remain in place, with Prof. Amnon Shashua continuing as the company’s CEO.

This will be the second time that Mobileye has braved the public markets.

Mobileye went public in 2014, but returned to private ownership when it was acquired by Intel in 2017.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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