NEW YORK (September 7, 2017) – Vestar Capital Partners has announced that Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”), a leading provider of corporate governance and responsible investment solutions to financial market participants, has been sold for $720 million. The transaction is expected to close by early fourth quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.

Vestar acquired ISS in April 2014, carving it out from its former corporate parent MSCI Inc. Under Vestar’s ownership, ISS successfully developed into an attractive, high-growth platform with a clear market leadership position in the on-trend Environmental, Social and Governance (“ES&G”) space.

CEO Gary Retelny and his management team led this transformation, establishing ISS as a standalone entity and investing behind the systems and human capital infrastructure required to accelerate growth. ISS will continue to operate independently once the transaction is completed and the current ISS executive leadership team will remain in place.

“We thank Vestar Capital Partners for their commitment to ISS and its clients around the globe over the past three years. It has been a tremendously successful partnership,” Mr. Retelny said.

“Our partnership with Gary Retelny and the ISS management team has been extremely productive and highly successful, including the completion of five acquisitions, which significantly broadened its products and services,” said Rob Rosner, co-president of Vestar. “We are proud of how ISS has expanded its business over the past several years and strengthened its global position as the leading authority in corporate governance.”

ISS currently has more than 1,000 employees operating across 19 global offices in 13 countries. Its approximately 3,000 clients include many of the world’s-leading institutional investors who rely on ISS’ objective and impartial proxy research and data to vote portfolio holdings, as well as public companies focused on governance risk mitigation as a shareholder-value enhancing measure.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP acted as legal advisor to ISS and Vestar Capital Partners on the transaction.

About ISS

Founded in 1985 as Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., ISS is the world’s leading provider of corporate governance and responsible investment (RI) solutions for asset owners, asset managers, hedge funds, and asset service providers. ISS’ solutions include: objective governance research and recommendations; RI data, analytics, advisory and research; end-to-end proxy voting and distribution solutions; turnkey securities class-action claims management (provided by Securities Class Action Services, LLC); and reliable global governance data and modeling tools. Clients rely on ISS’ expertise to help them make informed corporate governance and responsible investment decisions. For more information, please visit

About Vestar Capital Partners

Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners to build long-term enterprise value, with a focus on Consumer, Healthcare, and Business Services & Industrial Products. Since its founding in 1988, Vestar funds have completed more than 80 investments in companies – as well as more than 200 add-on acquisitions – with a total value of approximately $50 billion. For more information, please visit


Media Contacts:
Institutional Shareholder Services Inc.
Subodh Mishra, Executive Director, Communications
[email protected]

Vestar Capital
Owen Blicksilver Public Relations, Inc.
Jennifer Hurson
[email protected]