Intel has acquired Israel-based artificial-intelligence (AI) chipmaker Habana Labs for approximately $2 billion. The deal is seen as a play by Intel to strengthen its fast-growing data-center business as sales of personal computers have stagnated.
Habana, founded in 2016, has offices in Tel Aviv, San Jose, Beijing, and Gdansk, Poland. It has raised $120 million in funding to date, including $75 million in series B funding led by Intel Capital in November 2018. That round also included investments from WRV Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Battery Ventures.
In a statement, Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the data platforms group at Intel, said the deal advanced the company’s AI strategy. “More specifically, Habana turbo-charges our AI offerings for the data center with a high-performance training processor family and a standards-based programming environment to address evolving AI workloads,” Shenoy said.
Habana will remain an independent business unit and will continue to be led by its current management team, based in Israel. It will report to Intel’s data platforms group. The company’s chairman, Avigdor Willenz, will stay on as a senior adviser.
Intel said it expects the AI silicon market to top $25 billion by 2024. This year, the company’s AI-driven revenue is expected to surpass $3.5 billion, an increase of more than 20% year over year.
In September 2016, Intel bought chipmaker Movidius, whose computer vision processors are used in drones and in virtual reality devices.
In August 2016, Intel agreed to buy machine-learning startup Nervana Systems for more than $400 million. Nervana’s AI technology was also used in data centers.
Intel’s stock was up about 1% in trading Monday morning. The company’s shares are up 23% this year, compared to a 21% increase for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
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