Rafael and SK Group to buy VisionMap

Rafael: The company is not changing its format, and will continue to operate as an independent company under the current management.

After a decade of activity that went back and forth between defense and civilian enterprises, aerial photographic technology developer VisionMap Ltd. is switching to new ownership with clear defense interests. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. has announced that, together with Samy Katsav's SK Group, they are buying VisionMap. Rafael invested in the company at an earlier stage, and already owns 25% of the company. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but, according to estimates, it was carried out at a company valuation of tens of millions of dollars.

VisionMap was founded by Michael Pechatnikov, Vadim Zlotnik, Pavel Radzivilovsky and Benny Ifhar, and is managed by CEO Yaron Vilan. The company, which was awarded the Israel Security Prize in 2009, has developed imaging technology that improves the quality and efficiency of deciphering aerial photographs, so that the photographs may be taken from higher altitudes, and can cover larger areas. The companys system, A3, consists of two cameras, which take a fast, automatic photograph, at 160 pixels per second, which allows for a very high resolution, and makes deciphering the image easier. Just for comparison, the most advanced personal cameras allow for photographs with 40 million pixels per image.

VisionMaps technology seems to be attractive enough to draw a fairly rare group of investors. Prof. Ehud Weinstein, Dr. Ofir Shalvi and Ariel Maislos participated in their first investment round - the last time the three collaborated was when they invested in Anobit, which sold to Apple in 2011. Another investor is Kryptonite hedge fund CEO Yariv Gilat, former CEO of Financial Algorithms (FINAL) Israel Ltd.. Rafael joined in the companys late 2008 investment round and bought a quarter of it for $9 million.

In 2010, VisionMap, which employs 100 workers, announced that it was planning an IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) at a value of NIS 100 million, but the IPO never came about.

Rafael issued a statement, saying: The company is not changing its format, and will continue to operate as an independent company under the current management, in order to leverage the new owners ability to advance the companys operations in Israel, and around the world.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 11, 2013

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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