Mobileye Bears Folding as Tighter Grip Seen on Driverless Future

Investors say Mobileye’s pact with BMW shows it has gone beyond advanced driver-assistance systems to establish itself as a key partner for automakers as they step up investment in the race to achieve fully-autonomous driving. The stock’s meteoric rise after a $1 billion initial public offering in 2014 made it a target for short sellers like Citron Research, whichargued its valuation implied a quasi-monopoly status for what was essentially an early-to-the-game chipmaker with no moat to fend off competition. “People were worried they’d be a vision player who would get leap-frogged or commoditized,” said Joseph Fath, who helps oversee about $65 billion at T.Rowe Price in Baltimore, including Mobileye shares. “Autonomous capability driving is going to come faster than expected and this is the purest way to play it.”