(Reuters) - Mobileye N.V., whose collision-avoidance technology has been adopted in cars made by the likes of BMW AG <BMWG.DE> and General Motors Co <GM.N>, said on Sunday it had raised money from five investors that valued its equity at $1.5 billion, highlighting the market potential for driver-assistance systems.
Founded in 1999 by an Israeli businessman and a professor of computer science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mobileye sold its 1 millionth driver assistance system last year. It has said it expects to sell 2 million more in 2013.
The Amsterdam-based company said the five equity investments totaled about $400 million. The figures provided by the company imply that the five investors collectively acquired roughly a 27 percent stake in Mobileye.
Mobileye did not name the buyers and sellers of the equity, but said some of the largest U.S.-based global institutional asset managers and a leading Chinese government-affiliated financial investor were among the investors who bought into the company.
A person familiar with the matter disclosed the names of these five new investors on condition of anonymity because their identities have been kept confidential. They are BlackRock Inc <BLK.N>, Fidelity Investments, Wellington Management Co, car rental company Enterprise Holdings Inc and China's Sailing Capital Management, the person said.
Mobileye's collision-warning systems, sold to suppliers and automakers for a little more than $100 each, are an option for customers in car brands including Volvo AB <VOLVb.ST>, Ford Motor Co <F.N> and Hyundai Corp <011760.KS>.
Starting in 2014, Mobileye's products will be a standard feature on many cars because of new regulations that will require driver-assistance systems for cars to receive five-star safety ratings.
Mobileye's systems include a camera mounted on the windshield that takes pictures of what is in front of the driver. A chip, manufactured by STMicroelectronics <STM.PA>, processes the images and in real-time issues audio-visual warnings to drivers on a small device on the dashboard.
Among the warnings are those for collision if another car is too close and if the car is in danger of hitting a pedestrian. The system automatically brakes before impact.
The transaction, in which Goldman Sachs & Co <GS.N> and Morgan Stanley <MS.N> served as the placement agents, is expected to close in August, Mobileye said.
(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Jan Paschal)