Vigeo and EIRIS tie up and owners back business with €6.3m

Combined company to be headquartered in Paris and led by Vigeo’s Nicole Notat as CEO.

Vigeo and EIRIS, the ESG research firms, have tied up in a deal where the EIRIS Foundation, which owns EIRIS, will take 20% of the equity of the combined company named Vigeo-EIRIS, and Vigeo’s owners will invest €6.3m in the joint venture. The fusion is the latest in a series of deals among ESG research houses. Last month, US proxy firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) acquired Ethix SRI Advisors of Sweden.
The joining of Paris-based Vigeo and London-based EIRIS will create a combined staff of 180 with offices and operations in France, UK, Belgium, Italy, Morocco and the US. EIRIS has a global network of ESG partner research firms in Australia, Brazil, Germany, Israel, Mexico, South Korea and Spain, all of which will remain affiliated to the combined company.
Vigeo has raised €6.3m in new capital from its shareholders to part finance the EIRIS acquisition and fund future Vigeo-EIRIS expansion.
The companies declined to issue further information on the finance arrangements of the deal.
Vigeo’s shareholder structure remains unchanged. It comprises three colleges: companies, including many of the biggest in France’s CAC40 share index (26%), asset and pension fund managers (55%), and civil society and trade unions (19%). Link to Vigeo structure
The EIRIS Foundation will be incorporated into the civil society college and hold 20% of the capital in Vigeo-EIRIS, which will be headquartered in Paris and led by Nicole Notat as Chief Executive Officer. Notat, a well-known figure in France, was the former secretary general of the country’s CFDT trades union. She founded Vigeo in 2002 and was its President.Notat said: “This merger makes sense. It allows both agencies to undertake a meaningful shift in their size at the moment when the RI market is developing, diversifying and growing in maturity.”
Peter Webster, Chief Executive of EIRIS and Stephen Hine, Head of Responsible Investment Development, will both serve on the Executive Committee of Vigeo-EIRIS alongside Notat. Webster, who sits on the board of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, becomes the Chief Executive Officer of the EIRIS Foundation, the responsible investment charity, whose mission is to promote sustainable finance and was the owner body of EIRIS. Webster said the deal would see the remit of the EIRIS Foundation broaden into new areas as a result of the EIRIS ownership shift.
The sustainable and responsible investment market has been characterised in recent years by double-digit growth in Europe and the US, developing maturity of financial actors and a growing level of activity in emerging markets regions. However, the global reach of companies and financial actors has required more diverse and detailed information and analysis, making the market more costly to invest in and fiercely competitive.
Vigeo-EIRIS said the combined entity will be able to analyse up to 10,000 companies.