Israeli media reported Tuesday that U.S. technology giant Intel Corp. is in advanced talks to buy Israeli start-up Habana Labs for $1 billion to $2 billion. If the deal passes, it would be Intel’s second-largest acquisition in Israel, Calcalist reported. The first acquisition was Intel’s acquisition of self-driving chip company Mobileye in 2017.
Last year, Intel’s investment arm invested in Habana Labs, an AI chip company, as part of the $75 million B-round financing it received. Start-Up Nation, which tracks Israel’s technology industry, says it has raised about $120m so far.
Founded in 2016 by David Dahan and Ran Halutz, Habana Labs is dedicated to improving the processing performance and reducing costs and power consumption of AI chips, which focus on the specific needs of deep neural network training.
Goya, the AI start-up’s first processor, has been sold to global customers and launched its Gaudi AI training processor solution in June.
Habana Labs, a fabless design company that makes chips to third parties, currently employs 150 people worldwide and has offices in Tel Aviv, San Jose, California, Beijing, and Gdansk, Poland, according to official sources.
In response to the rumors, Calcalist reported that Intel declined to comment. Habana Labs did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Intel’s current strategy is data-centric, with AI as a key part of it, and Intel already has AI chips from CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs to ASIC. Not long ago, Intel said it would generate $3.5 billion in AI revenue in 2019 and announced more information about Nervana NNP-I/T.
Intel’s complete chip type layout is a feature of its differentiation from other AI chip providers, and has previously acquired FPGA and AI ASIC through acquisitions. Whether a giant acquisition of cloud-based AI chip start-ups will overlap with Nervana NNP and integrate well is a topic of concern today.