Israeli cyberattack company NSO Group is considering an initial public offering (IPO), preferably on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) but Nasdaq is also a possibility, sources close to the matter have told "Globes."
As part of a potential IPO, NSO chairman Asher Levy and financial director Doron Arazi, met earlier this week with TASE CEO Ittai Ben-Zeev.
Market sources estimate than any public offering would be at a company valuation of about $2 billion. The aim of the offering would be to develop new activities such as intercepting drones - an area the company has recently become involved in. NSO is only putting out initial feelers on the matter and no final decision has yet been made about proceeding with a public offering. NSO is also considering going public through a merger with a blank check or a special purpose acquisition (SPAC) company.
The TASE said, "The stock exchange's management holds meeting from time to time with representatives of public and private companies in the economy, as part of the ongoing open dialogue of the TASE in recent years."
No response has been received from NSO.
NSO is one of the best known Israel cyber-tech companies worldwide. Its name and its Pegasus spyware have been connected with many international affairs in the past. Pegasus allows governments to breach smartphones. NSO is currently contesting a case against Facebook in the California courts in which Facebook charges that NSO breached 1,400 Whatsapp accounts. NSO denies the charges.
The company has always insisted that its cyberattack and surveillance capabilities, which are sold to governments, are necessary to prevent serious crime and terrorism, while human rights groups argue that NSO's capabilities are abused by government to track their opponents.
The company was founded in 2010 by Omri Lavie, Shalev Hulio and Niv Carmi. In 2014, 70% of the company was acquired by the Francisco Partners private equity fund at a company valuation of $130 million. Five years later, the company's founders bought their stakes back together with the European private equity firm Novalpina Capital at a company valuation of $1 billion. NSO has 800 employees and according to market estimates has annual revenue of $400 million.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 5, 2021
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