Intel announced today that it’s paying a whopping $15.3 billion to acquire Mobileye, a computer vision firm specializing in autonomous cars. The gargantuan deal highlights the growing demand for self-driving car technology, but where does it sit compared to other technology acquisitions? And, more specifically, Intel’s other acquisitions?
Ignoring AOL’s $106 billion purchase of Time Warner back in 2001, given that Time Warner wasn’t strictly a technology company, the biggest tech-only acquisition to date was in 2015 when Dell acquired data storage giant EMC in a deal worth $67 billion, the same year that Avago bought rival chipmaker Broadcom for $37 billion. And last year SoftBank shelled out $32 billion for U.K.-based chipmaker ARM, while Microsoft spent $26 billion on the giant resume database that is LinkedIn.
Elsewhere, U.S. computing giant Hewlett-Packard shelled out $18.6 billion in a merger with Compaq back in 2002, which was the biggest tech acquisition until Facebook snapped up WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014. Intel’s $16.75 billion acquisition of Altera in 2015 (see below) is the seventh biggest tech acquisition of all time, followed by the Mobileye deal.
Intel has made dozens of acquisitions throughout its history, many worth in the hundreds of millions, but only five have been more than $1 billion — here’s a quick look back at them. Please note, we haven’t adjusted these figures for inflation.
1. Altera (2015): $16.75 billion
Intel confirmed its $16.75 billion Altera acquisition on June 1, 2015. Altera specializes in configurable field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), which are basically chips that can be programmed for different uses after manufacturing. They had become popular for use within servers and, with the decline in PC demand, represented a refocusing of the company’s efforts on cloud computing.
2. Mobileye (2017): $15.3 billion
Mobileye develops the visual smarts behind cars’ driving assistance systems. Intel has made no secret of its interests in autonomous vehicles and had already partnered with Mobileye on other projects.
3. McAfee (2010): $7.68 billion
Intel paid a hefty $7.68 billion to acquire security software giant McAfee back in 2010, a deal that “reflects that security is now a fundamental component of online computing,” according to a company statement at the time. Intel is currently in the process of spinning out McAfee, which has since become known as Intel Security, as an independent company. This is part of a broader restructuring that will see Intel focus on data centers and the Internet of Things (IoT).
4. Infineon Technologies (2010): $1.4 billion
Eleven days after buying McAfee, Intel paid $1.4 billion to acquire Infineon’s mobile chip business. Smartphones were the emerging computing platform of the time, and the deal represented Intel’s desire to evolve with the times.
5. Giga (2000): $1.25 billion
Way back in the dawdling days of dial-up, Intel forked out $1.25 billion for Denmark’s Giga, a company specializing in high-performance networking chips. Given that the internet was still growing at breakneck speed, this deal represented a forward-looking move by Intel to support the emerging speedy internet.