Vestar Capital Partners to Acquire Institutional Shareholder Services from MSCI.
Rockville, MD and New York, NY – Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”), a leading provider of corporate governance solutions to the global financial community, today announced its parent company, MSCI Inc. (NYSE: MSCI), had entered into a definitive agreement with Vestar Capital Partners (“Vestar“), pursuant to which Vestar has agreed to acquire ISS for $364 million. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.
ISS will operate independently once the transaction is completed. The current ISS executive team will remain in place.
“With Vestar’s support, the management team looks forward to advancing ISS‘ long-standing mission of providing world-class corporate governance solutions in an independent and transparent manner,” said Gary Retelny, President of ISS. “Clients will continue to see expanded product offerings, innovative solutions, and the same high level of service that ISS has delivered to institutional investors, corporations, and governance practitioners globally for nearly three decades.”
Also commenting on the transaction, Vestar Capital Partners‘ Robert L. Rosner, Founding Partner and Co-President, said ISS‘ position in the industry, future prospects, and strong management team appealed significantly to the New York-based private equity firm.
“This transaction underscores our belief in the importance of corporate governance and ISS‘ leadership position within the industry. ISS is a market leader in providing corporate governance solutions, with strong client retention rates and a powerful commitment to operating impartially. We fully support the ISS management team and its focus on innovation and providing unrivaled client service,” said Rosner.
MSCI acquired ISS in 2010 as part of its acquisition of RiskMetrics Group. ISS currently has close to 700 employees operating across 15 global offices in 10 countries. Its 1,700 clients include institutional investors, who rely on ISS‘ objective and impartial proxy research and data to vote portfolio holdings, as well as corporations focused on governance risk mitigation as a shareholder-value enhancing measure.
Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal advisor to MSCI on the transaction. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal advisor to Vestar Capital Partners.
ISS, founded in 1985 as Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., is the world’s leading provider of proxy advisory and corporate governance solutions to financial market participants. ISS’ services include objective proxy research and analysis, end-to-end proxy voting and distribution solutions, turnkey securities class-action claims management, and reliable governance data and modeling tools. Clients rely on ISS’ expertise to help them make informed corporate governance decisions. For more information, please visit www.issgovernance.com.