Blackstone Group in Talks to Buy 40% of Israeli Cybersecurity Firm NSO Group

Deal would go for $400 million, with ClearSky expected to join as a secondary buyer for 10%

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The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeCredit: Brendan McDermid/REUTERS

Blackstone Group is in advanced talks to acquire 40% of the Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO Group for $400 million, Israel’s Calcalist business newspaper reported on Sunday.

Another investor, ClearSky, is expected to join Blackstone as a secondary buyer, for 10%, Calcalist said.

Founded in 2009 by Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio, NSO develops software that can target mobile phones to gather information.

Private equity firm Francisco Partners acquired a majority stake in NSO in 2014 for $120 million.

An NSO spokesman said he could not confirm the report.

Calcalist said Francisco Partners could achieve a partial exit via the deal that was four times its initial investment. Six weeks ago NSO distributed a $230 million dividend that will not be included in the deal’s value, the newspaper reported.

Under the deal, Francisco Partners will own 40% of NSO; Blackstone and ClearSky together will hold 40%; the founders will have 6% each and the company’s 500 employees will hold the remaining 8%.

Blackstone was not immediately available to comment. ClearSky did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request to comment.



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