Blackstone in advanced talks to acquire 40% stake in the NSO Group

The Israeli spyware developer is making some serious profits: quadrupling investor investments in 3.5 years is phenomenal.

Israeli business newspaper Calcalist has reported, Blackstone Group is in advanced talks with the NSO Group, an Israeli company which develops spyware for mobile devices, to acquire a 40% stake in the company.

Another investor, ClearSky is expected to join Blackstone in the deal as a secondary buyer for a 10% stake.

A spokesman for NSO could not confirm the report. Blackstone was not immediately available to comment. ClearSky did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Incidentally, in recent months, NSO has come increasing international scrutiny midst allegations that the Mexican government had used its Pegasus mobile spyware to target private citizens.

Last month, cyber researchers and Citizen Lab stated, the Mexican government had tried to install the spyware on mobile devices belonging to private citizens, including opposition lawmakers, human rights activists, and journalists.

Enrique Pena Nieto, the Mexican President has asked the country’s attorney general’s office to investigate the allegations saying he wanted to get to the bottom of the accusations, which he termed as false.

Founded in 2009 by Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio, Francisco Partners, a private equity firm, paid $120 million to acquire a majority stake in 2014.

According to Calcalist, if Francisco Partners were to cash-in on its investments, it could reap in profits four times its initial investment.

In May, NSO had provided a dividend worth $230 million to its shareholders. That value will however not be included in the deal.

According to Calcalist, if the deal were to go through, Francisco Partners is likely to retain a 40% stake in NSO; Blackstone and ClearSky will together hold another 40%, the founder will have a stake of 6% each while the balance 8% will be distributed amongst the company’s 500 strong employees.

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Categories: Creativity, Entrepreneurship, HR & Organization, Strategy

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