According to a Wall Street Journal report, RiskMetrics Group Inc. has put itself on the auction block. “The company could fetch a premium of about 30% to its current value, said one person involved in a potential transaction. That would value the company, which has about 1,100 employees, all in New York, at around $1.3 billion.” (RiskMetrics Puts Itself Up for Sale, 1/23/10) All in New York? Corporate headquarters are there but RMG has offices all around the world. When I have visited, it has been to Rockville, MD.
In the reported running are MSCI Inc., a former Morgan Stanley unit that specializes in building market indexes, Bloomberg, McGraw-Hill Cos. and Thomson Reuters. “Potential bidders include Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Carlyle Group. Roughly 92% of RiskMetrics revenue, estimated at $300 million in 2009, are recurring.” “The company has grown via acquisition, most notably with the acquisition of corporate-governance firm Institutional Shareholders Services in January 2007 for about $550 million. That unit often weighs in on proxy battles and can tip the balance in close elections or hostile takeovers where a target is battling outside shareholders or an unfriendly acquirer.”
As I indicated earlier the week, with the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, firms like RMG and Glass Lewis become even more important. Their policies could help reign in the expected surge of corporate cash into political campaigns… or not. (Disclosure: CorpGov.net publisher, James McRitchie, is a RMG shareowner)