When Intel bought Mobileye in March 2017, it was considered a blockbuster deal, and not just because of the $15.3 billion price tag. The acquisition paired Intel's vast chipmaking capabilities with Mobileye's camera-based computer vision expertise, bringing an entirely new dynamic to automotive technology.
Now the companies envision something far bigger.
Last week, Intel unveiled plans to spin off Mobileye into its own public company in 2022, a move that will take place as Mobileye readies to launch self-driving taxi services in Germany and Israel. More broadly, it occurs as the automotive industry's need for chips that serve as the brains behind automated systems, electric vehicles and other features rapidly grows throughout this decade.
Asked why it made sense to spin Mobileye, which had been operated as an independent subsidiary anyway, into a standalone entity at this juncture, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger used the words "visible" or "visibility" at least a half-dozen times in a conference call last week detailing the plans.
"We see this as an underappreciated asset that will get a lot more visibility in the marketplace as a result of this move," he said.