Verint in talks to buy Israeli software firm NSO for $1 billion: WSJ

(Reuters) - U.S. data analytics firm Verint Systems Inc VRNT.O is in talks to buy Israeli mobile surveillance software maker NSO Group for about $1 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing a person familiar with the situation.

Verint has offered to pay private equity firm Francisco Partners, which is NSO's controlling shareholder, with its own stock and assumed debt, WSJ reported

Francisco Partners will become the largest shareholder in Verint if the potential deal is completed, the newspaper added.

Verint shares have risen more than 5 percent this year and closed at $44.05 on Friday, valuing the company at $2.82 billion.

Verint, NSO and Francisco Partners could not be reached for comment outside regular business hours.

Francisco Partners paid $120 million to buy a majority stake in NSO in 2014.

NSO, founded in 2009 by Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio, came under international scrutiny last year amid allegations the Mexican government has used its Pegasus mobile spyware to target private citizens.

Israeli media reported last July that Blackstone Group BX.N was in talks to buy part of NSO but sources told Reuters that the U.S. private equity firm pulled out of those discussions a month later.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier