Canon Inc. is acquiring Israel-based video analysis company BriefCam Ltd., the companies announced Wednesday. Canon stated the acquisition is part of the company's five-year global corporation initiative, launched in 2016. As part of the plan, Canon increased its focus on its network video solutions business.
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The financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. The acquisition is pending regulatory approval.
Japanese companies have been increasingly interested in the Israeli market in recent years. In 2014, Japanese e-commerce mogul Rakuten Inc. acquired messaging app Viber for $900 million. In a November interview with Calcalist, Rakuten’s founder Hiroshi Mikitani said Viber is central to Rakuten's vision of integrating its various subsidiaries under one brand. More recently, in 2017, Japanese drugmaker Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation acquired Israel-based drug company NeuroDerm ltd. for $1.1 billion.
Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe conducted a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He was accompanied by Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, the chairman of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and of Japan's business lobby. During his visit, Mr. Abe met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and discussed ways to strengthen the economic ties between the two countries.
BriefCam develops machine learning software that enables rapid video review and search, allowing investigators to go through hours of footage in minutes while filtering for object size and color, speed and direction of movement. The technology is used by global law enforcement and public safety organizations, government and transportation agencies, healthcare and educational institutions, and also by private businesses.
According to previous media reports, BriefCam's technology was used in the search for the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Other investigations in which the company’s software was used include the hunt for Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, and the 2016 Brussels bombings investigation.
BriefCam was founded in 2007 by Shmuel Peleg, a computer vision researcher and professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Gideon Ben-Zvi, and Yaron Caspi. The university has stock in the company. To date, the company raised $15.6 from investors including Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, Jerusalem-headquartered equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, and Israel-based Aviv Venture Capital, according to Israel-based market research firm IVC Research Center Ltd.
BriefCam appointed Trevor Matz, formerly CEO of enterprise software company Aternity Inc., as president and CEO in 2017. BriefCam's current management will stay in place following the acquisition, and the company will continue to provide its technology through its own sales channels, the companies stated.
Canon was represented by Ephraim Schmeidler and Joey Shabot from the Israeli branch of law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP. Morgan Stanley was Canon's business advisor.