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Israel’s Mobileye Adds Investors in Potential IPO Prelude

Mobileye NV, a company whose Israeli-developed technology helps stop car accidents, added five investors, including U.S. global asset managers and a Chinese firm, in a $400 million sale of equity that is a step toward an initial public offering.

The transaction valued Amsterdam-based Mobileye at about $1.5 billion and is likely to close in August, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. It didn’t identify the new investors.

“This successful transaction is a testament to the strength of our business and the company’s future prospects,” Chief Executive Officer Ziv Aviram said in the statement.

Founded in 1999, Mobileye makes a chip and a system that alert drivers to pedestrians, unintended lane departure and speed limit violations among others. It can also execute active breaking to prevent an accident. General Motors Co. and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG are among the company’s customers.

The equity sale allowed early investors to exit and brought in more prominent stakeholders who can help the company move toward an IPO, said a shareholder, who asked not to be identified because the new investors haven’t been announced publicly.

The Chinese government-affiliated financial investor can help Mobileye expand its sales in China, the shareholder said. The shareholder named BlackRock Inc. as one of the new investors in Mobileye. Brian Beades, a spokesman for the New York-based company, the world’s largest money manager, declined comment.

$35 a Share Report

According to the Israeli financial daily Calcalist, investors that bought into Mobileye at $15 a share sold at $35 in the transaction. While it wasn’t immediately clear which of the company’s 280 shareholders sold out, existing investors include Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Migdal Insurance & Financial Holding Ltd. and Africa-Israel Investments Ltd.’s Chairman Lev Leviev.

With the slogan “Our vision. Your safety,” Mobileye’s technology is currently installed in cars made by 19 manufacturers, including Volvo, GM, BMW and Hyundai Motor Co., according to the company’s website.

Mobileye was co-founded by a professor of computer science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and employs about 200 people. Its research and development center is in Jerusalem and it has offices in the Netherlands, U.S., Japan and Cyprus. It’s focusing now on technology that will compete with Google Inc.’s self-driving car.

Mobileye would join other Israeli companies such as website developer Wixpress Ltd., commercially known as, and Kamada Ltd., which makes medical treatments, looking to list in the U.S.

The Bloomberg Israel-U.S. Equity Index of 24 stocks increased 16 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 21 percent gain for the Nasdaq Composite Index.

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