The Tel Aviv-based Argus Cyber Security announced on Friday that it was acquired by German automotive giant Continental for an undisclosed amount. Earlier this week, media reports suggested the deal was struck for $400 million.
The award-winning Israeli company specializes in automotive cyber security, providing end-to-end security solutions that protect connected cars from hackers and malicious software. Founded in just 2013, Argus quickly became a global leader in the industry and is one of the only companies working to come up with cybersecurity solutions for a future autonomous car.
Continental, the world’s second-largest supplier of car parts with over $40 billion in annual sales, said Argus will become part of its subsidiary Elektrobit (EB), a stand-alone software company.
Argus co-founder and CEO Ofer Ben-Noon said in a statement on Friday that the Israeli company “was founded with a vision to protect all vehicles on the road from cyber threats. To this end we have developed the most comprehensive automotive cyber security offering in the industry and enjoy global recognition of our leadership,” adding that “joining forces with Continental and EB will enable us to further accelerate the realization of that vision.”
“With automotive cyber security regulations in the making worldwide and with already millions of connected cars on the road, I can’t think of a better time, or a more exciting move, than now to become part of EB. Together we will shorten time to market and make it easier for vehicle manufacturers to protect their vehicles from cyber attacks,” said Ben-Noon.
Argus’ chief marketing officer Yoni Heilbronn told NoCamels on Friday that the acquisition marked “another boost to Israeli industry” and the hi-tech sector, and that not only would the company retain its 70 employees, most of them Israeli, it also had plans to embark on a large recruiting campaign over the next year to employ at least another 100 people. The company has offices in Israel, the US, Germany and Japan, and boasts boasts 38 granted and pending patents.
Heilbronn said Argus would retain its company name in Israel and its R&D operations.
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Argus has been collaborating with Continental since 2016 to develop cybersecurity and over-the-air software update solutions with Elektrobit.
EB’s president and managing director, Alexander Kocher, said adding “Argus to our portfolio will allow us to further advance the development of our software,” to offer “the automotive industry — carmakers and suppliers alike — a complete secure solution for the development of highly automated and connected driving. This will enable them to develop safer, smarter and more efficient vehicles.”
A member of the executive board at Continental and head of the interior division, Helmut Matschi also welcomed the sale, saying that with the acquisition of Argus, Continental would be “enhancing our abilities to directly develop and offer solutions and services with some of the world’s leading automotive cyber security experts to our customers around the globe in order to truly make mobility more intelligent and secure.”
The “only secure mobility is intelligent mobility,” he said.
Argus was founded by three graduates of the Israeli military’s elite IDF intelligence Unit 8200 — Ben-Noon, R&D VP Oron Lavi, and CTO Yaron Galula — and a prominent Israeli entrepreneur, Zohar Zisapel.