Intel's Mobileye confidentially files for US IPO

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Intel's Mobileye confidentially files for US IPO

Intel's self-driving car unit Mobileye confidentially filed for an initial public offering in the United States on Monday, setting the stage for what is expected to be one of the biggest stock market flotations of the year.

The move to list Mobileye is part of Intel's broader strategy under Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger to turn around its core business.

Investors have made big bets on new technologies in the business of global transportation over the past few years, and Intel is aiming to take advantage of the demand for autonomous vehicles by listing Mobileye's shares.

The technology powering driverless cars has been gaining traction even among legacy automakers such as Ford, General Motors and Toyota, which have been investing in models with features such as driver-assist and self-driving systems.

Intel, however, is looking to test capital markets at a time when investor interest in IPOs has waned significantly due to recent stock market volatility amid fears of looming rate hikes and geopolitical tensions.

Traditional US IPOs have raised about US$2.33 billion since the beginning of the year, compared to US$26.67 billion during the same period last year, according to Dealogic. In recent weeks, several companies have postponed or scrapped their plans to go public.

Blockbuster Deal

Intel did not disclose more details about the IPO, but it had previously said it would receive the majority of the proceeds from the share sale. Some of those funds will be used to build more Intel chip plants, Gelsinger said in December.

The chip giant will also retain a majority stake in the unit after the IPO, it had said previously. In December, Reuters and other media outlets reported that the IPO could value Mobileye at more than US$50 billion, although Mobileye may now struggle to get the same valuation given the recent market volatility, people familiar with the matter said.

Mobileye, an Israeli company that Intel bought for about US$15.3 billion in 2017, uses a camera-based system with adaptive cruise control and lane change assistance in driverless cars.

The company, founded in 1999, plans to eventually build its own "lidar" sensor to help its cars map out a three-dimensional view of the road. It is currently using lidar units from Luminar Technologies on its initial robotaxis in the meantime.

Mobileye, which counts BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda and General Motors as its clients, has been a bright spot for Intel, which faces stiff competition in the chip-making segment from rivals Nvidia Corp and Qualcomm Inc.

Gelsinger has been under pressure from activist investors to consider spinning off Intel's chip operations, but the company still plans to invest billions to expand its chip-manufacturing capacity in the US and grow its market share.

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