Will this Mobileye IPO fund Intel's comeback plan?

x86 giant will keep majority ownership of autonomous car tech wing

Intel has confidentially submitted for an initial public offering of its Mobileye automotive business, a move that CEO Pat Gelsinger has said will help fund the chipmaker's multibillion-dollar comeback plan.

The semiconductor giant disclosed on Monday that it filed a private draft Form S-1 statement for the Mobileye IPO with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The confidential filing is allowed under Rule 135 of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, which means no financial details of the IPO are available for public consumption.

The IPO would mark a return to the public market for Mobileye, which Intel acquired in 2016 for $15bn to chase after autonomous vehicle ambitions after an initial IPO in 2014.

While Intel said it had yet to determine the price range for Mobileye's IPO, Reuters has reported that the IPO could value Mobileye at "more than $50bn." That would be roughly one quarter of Intel's market cap, which was $195bn as of early Monday afternoon.

Intel did not provide a timeline for Mobileye's IPO but said it would happen after the SEC completes its review, though the offering is also subject to "other conditions."

First announced in December, Intel said the Mobileye IPO would "unlock the value of Mobileye for Intel shareholders" as semiconductors represent an increasingly larger proportion of materials in premium vehicles, which Intel expects to reach 20 percent by 2030.

Intel plans to remain the majority shareholder of Mobileye after the IPO, which will raise money for the automotive tech provider by issuing new common stock. The two companies plan to keep working together on various solutions and technologies, including sensors.

Gelsinger has previously said that Intel will use some of the proceeds from the Mobileye IPO to fund his costly plan to regain manufacturing leadership against chip foundries TSMC and Samsung, which will, in turn, aid the companies' fight against rivals like AMD and Nvidia.

One of the most significant costs of Gelsinger's plan are new, multibillion-dollar fabs Intel plans to build in Arizona and Ohio in the U.S. and, reportedly, the city of Magdeburg in Germany. The company also recently announced its plan to acquire Israel-based Tower Semiconductor to expand its foundry capabilities. ®

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