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Mobileye Valued at $1.5 Billion, Highlights Self-Driving Car Market

This story originally appeared on Reuters

Mobileye N.V., whose collision-avoidance technology has been adopted in cars made by the likes of AG and Co., said on Sunday it had raised money from five investors that valued its equity at $1.5 billion, highlighting the market potential for driver-assistance systems.

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Founded in 1999 by an Israeli businessman and a professor of computer science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mobileye sold its 1 millionth driver assistance system last year. It has said it expects to sell 2 million more in 2013.

The Amsterdam-based company said the five equity investments totaled about $400 million. The figures provided by the company imply that the five investors collectively acquired roughly a 27 percent stake in Mobileye.

Related: The Art and Science of Company Valuations (Infographic)

Mobileye did not name the buyers and sellers of the equity, but said some of the largest U.S.-based global institutional asset managers and a leading Chinese government-affiliated financial investor were among the investors who bought into the company.

A person familiar with the matter disclosed the names of these five new investors on condition of anonymity because their identities have been kept confidential. They are BlackRock Inc., Fidelity Investments, Wellington Management Co., car rental company Enterprise Holdings Inc. and China's Sailing Capital Management, the person said.

Mobileye's collision-warning systems, sold to suppliers and automakers for a little more than $100 each, are an option for customers in car brands including Volvo AB, Ford Motor Co. and Hyundai Corp.

Starting in 2014, Mobileye's products will be a standard feature on many cars because of new regulations that will require driver-assistance systems for cars to receive five-star safety ratings.

Mobileye's systems include a camera mounted on the windshield that takes pictures of what is in front of the driver. A chip, manufactured by STMicroelectronics, processes the images and in real-time issues audio-visual warnings to drivers on a small device on the dashboard.

Among the warnings are those for collision if another car is too close and if the car is in danger of hitting a pedestrian. The system automatically brakes before impact.

The transaction, in which & Co. and  served as the placement agents, is expected to close in August, Mobileye said.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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