According to persons acquainted with the situation, NSO Group LtdThe scandal-plagued spyware business on the verge of defaulting on its obligations is considering shutting down its infamous Pegasus section and selling the entire company.
A refinancing or outright sale has been discussed with numerous investment funds, according to the persons, who requested not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. According to the persons, the corporation has hired Moelis & Co. as consultants, while lenders are seeking assistance from Willkie Farr & Gallagher attorneys.
Two American funds have explored taking ownership of Pegasus and shutting it down, according to one of the sources. According to one of the persons, the funds would then infuse around $200 million in new money to transform Pegasus’ know-how into exclusively defensive cyber security services, as well as perhaps developing the Israeli company’s drone technology.
NSO’s Herzliya-based representative declined to comment. Moelis, located in New York, declined to comment through a spokesperson. Willkie Farr’s representative did not immediately reply to calls for comment. Debtwire had previously reported on aspects of the proposed deal.
NSO’s Herzliya office declined to respond through a spokesman. Moelis, which is located in New York, declined to comment through a spokesman. Willkie Farr’s representative did not reply to a request for comment right away. Debtwire had previously reported on aspects of the possible sale.
Pegasus software can follow a user’s phone, and its abuse has put NSO in the middle of high-profile privacy scandals. Governments reportedly received the goods and utilized them to spy on political dissidents, journalists, and human rights activists.
The company claims to sell the technology to law enforcement and government agencies in order to prevent crime and terrorism, and that it has terminated contracts with clients who have abused it. Despite this, the US Commerce Department banned NSO, which said in November that it was attempting to have the decision reversed because “given that our technologies support US national security interests and policies.”
Apple Inc. has filed a lawsuit against NSO, seeking to prevent the spyware company from using its products and services, and has announced that it will begin notifying users who have been hacked by a foreign government.
The US limitations have increased the burden on NSO, which has around $450 million in debt to repay barely two years after a management buyout valued at over $1 billion. Last month, Moody’s Investors Service said there’s a growing possibility the firm may default on its debts.
Because Pegasus accounts for over half of NSO’s income, its closure would leave the firm substantially smaller and perhaps less valuable. One of the persons claimed the firm plans to make roughly $230 million in sales this year, which is 8% less than last year.