RiskMetrics puts itself up for sale: reports

Bloomberg, McGraw-Hill and Thomson Reuters sounded out on bid, says WSJ.

RiskMetrics Group, the New York-listed risk and governance company, has reportedly put itself up for sale with an asking price that could reach $1.3bn, just months after a huge spending spree last year in the ESG research market when it bought KLD and Innovest. Media reports claim that Evercore Partners, the New York-based boutique M&A investment bank, has been hired to approach a number of media companies and private-equity firms including Bloomberg, McGraw-Hill, Thomson Reuters and MSCI, the index house, about a potential acquisition. Both the Wall Street Journal and Reuters cite sources close to the deal in their reports. RiskMetrics has yet to comment. Reuters said potential bidders could also include private equity giants KKR and Carlyle. Revenues at RiskMetrics were estimated at $300m in 2009. RiskMetrics, which went public in early 2008, gained 10% in trading in New York on Friday to reach $17.07 per share, putting its market value above $1bn. A number of private equity companies still hold at least 40% of the company’s shares. Its highest ever share price was $25.50 during 2008. In November 2009,RiskMetrics finalised the $10m buy-out of Boston-based KLD Research & Analytics, which also gave it a foothold in the SRI index business via deals with FTSE and Canada’s Jantzi Sustainalytics. That came after a February, 2009, $16m buy-out of Toronto-based Innovest. The company also owns ISS, the world’s biggest proxy voting agency, which covers around 40,000 corporate annual general meetings every year. Last year’s RiskMetrics deals prompted a flurry of consolidation and launches amongst SRI and research firms. In a six-month period, Canada’s Jantzi Research and Sustainalytics, the Amsterdam-based consortium of European ESG research houses, merged. As did Swiss research houses, Centre Info and INrate. ASSET4 in Switzerland was bought by news and information giant Thomson Reuters for an undisclosed sum. Bloomberg launched an ESG research system before buying environmental research provider, New Energy Finance.
RiskMetrics was founded in 1994 as a portfolio-risk analysis unit inside JP Morgan, the US banking group, and was spun off in 1998.