Mobileye NV’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange went on high note, with shares closing the first day up 48 percent at $37.00 with 36.8 million shares trading hands. The excellent stock market debut of the Israeli company comes on the heels of investors betting that a current race in the auto industry to improve safety ratings would significantly increase demand for Mobileye’s camera-based systems that help drivers avoid collisions.
Mobileye boasts of a technology that detects other vehicles and objects using a camera and software based on complex algorithms. Mobileye is is also developing a self-driving car. Company's technology is now being employed in over three million vehicles built by various carmakers like BMW AG, General Motors Co. and Tesla Motors Inc.
Mobileye's initial public offering was regarded as the largest US debut by an Israeli company and managed to raise about $890 million. For those who don't know, the Israeli company Mobileye was established in 1999 by computer science professor Amnon Shashua and Israeli businessman Ziv Aviram.
Shashua and Aviram – sitting as chairman and chief executive, respectively -- sold shares in the IPO but each retained an 8 percent stake. The duo was expected to get 92 million from the IPO. Mobileye sold 8.33 million shares of the 35.6 million shares offered.
The rest were sold by shareholders. Goldman Sachs & Co. holds a 12.3-percent stake in the company. Other shareholders include Colmobil Ltd., Fidelity Investments, BlackRock Inc. and Enterprise Holdings Inc.
Mobileye is cashing on a drive by carmakers to gain high safety ratings from regulatory agencies like the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Its windshield-mounted cameras take pictures of lanes, pedestrians and vehicles ahead of the car, which are then processed real-time.
Then a small device located on the dashboard will provide audio-visual warnings.