Private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners has entered into a definitive agreement with Msci Inc (NYSE:MSCI) to acquire International Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) for $364 million.

Vestar capital ISS

ISS is one of the leading providers of corporate governance solutions to the global financial community.

ISS executive team to remain

According to ISS, its existing executive team will remain in their current positions and the firm will continue to operate independently after the completion of the transaction.

Gary Retelny, president of ISS said, “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.

According to Retelny, ISS will continue to expand its product offerings, bring innovative solutions and provide the same high level of service delivered to institutional investors, corporations and governance practitioners worldwide for almost three decades.

Vestar Capital fully supports ISS

Robert Rosner, founding partner and co-president of Vestar Capital Partners, said several factors attracted his firm to acquire ISS, including its position in the industry, future prospects and strong management team.

Rosner said, “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.”

In 2010, Msci Inc (NYSE:MSCI) purchased RiskMetrics Group, and ISS was part of the acquisition. At present, ISS has approximately 700 employees across its 15 offices in 10 countries. The firm has 1,700 clients including institutional investors who depend on its objective and impartial proxy research to vote portfolio holdings and corporations focused on governance risk mitigation as a shareholder-value enhancing measure.

Vestar Capital Partners and Msci Inc (NYSE:MSCI) expect to complete the transaction in the second quarter of this year, subject to customary closing conditions.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) served as a financial adviser and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as a legal adviser for Msci Inc (NYSE:MSCI). Vestar Capital engaged the services of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP as a legal adviser for the transaction.