Intel Reportedly in Advanced Discussions for Acquisition of Israeli AI Processor Startup

Sources say that Intel is possibly negotiating the valuation of Habana Labs to somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion.

According to sources, US-based semiconductor chips manufacturer Intel Corporation is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire Habana Labs, an Israeli AI processor startup. It is possibly negotiating the total value of the transaction to somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion, sources said. If a deal is finalized, Intel will enter into its second-biggest acquisition agreement after its above $15 billion purchase of Mobileye a couple of years ago. Mobileye is Intel’s Israeli subsidiary that develops vision technology for autonomous driving and advanced driver assistance systems. Led by Intel Capital, an oversubscribed series B funding helped Habana Labs to secure around $75 million last year.

“Our company is fortunate to have attracted some of the most professional investors in the world, which include Intel, world’s leading semiconductor company. The funding will be used for executing on Habana Labs’ product roadmap for training and inference solutions, which include our next-gen 7 nm AI processor, for scaling our customer support and sales teams, and it only increases our resolve to become the nascent AI processor market’s undisputed leader,” CEO of Habana Labs, David Dahan said at the time.

Founded in 2016, Habana employs approximately 150 professionals worldwide

In June 2019, Habana Labs announced its Gaudi AI Training Processor. According to Habana Labs’ press release, Gaudi-based training systems are capable of delivering an up to four times increase in throughput compared to systems developed with equivalent number GPUs. In 2018, Habana Labs announced its Goya HL-1000 AI inference processor with higher performance levels. The company has around 150 employees worldwide and operates in Beijing, China and San Jose, California besides Tel-Aviv, Israel. According to sources, its research and development center is located in Gdańsk, Poland.

In November 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a new collaboration between the US state of Michigan and Intel’s Mobileye. The collaboration focuses on a pilot program that uses Mobileye’s collision avoidance technology to improve the efficiency and safety of Michigan fleets. The program will also explore the potential of driving assistance technology to save lives.