Israel’s NSO Group at Risk of Defaulting on Debt of $500 Million
Israeli cyberattack firm NSO Group is at risk of defaulting on $500 million of debt, which would lead to insolvency, the Hebrew-language business daily Calcalist reported Tuesday, citing Moody’s credit rating. The possible default comes on the heels of NSO being added to blacklist of companies that the US Department of Commerce says operate against US national security interests and its foreign policy interests. Earlier this month the Isaac Benbenisti, an NSO Group co-president, resigned as the company’s new CEO, before even starting work in his new job.
Moody’s dropped NSO’s credit to Caa2, which is eight levels lower than the level of investment. The bulk of the $ 500 million financial debt comes from two secured loans, one of $ 300 million and the other of $ 177 million, due in March 2025. NSO has a $30 million secured credit line with a fixed maturity date of March 2024. NSO also received a $14 million shareholder loan in the second quarter of 2020.
NSO has come under scrutiny following reports that its Pegasus spyware has been used by certain governments to spy on human rights activists, politicians and journalists. NSO says the software was sold to countries to allow their government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism and crime.
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NSO has close to 750 employees serving more than 60 customers in more than 35 countries, according to Moody’s. In 2020, NSO reported revenue of $ 243 million and an operating profit before depreciation and amortization of $ 99 million.