November 1, 2013

For Sale (Again): ISS

The last time I blogged about ISS being sold, I noted that ISS had been sold 4x within a decade. I almost don’t believe myself! Perhaps a hot potato phenomenon? More recently, I blogged about an activist hedge fund buying a 5% stake in MSCI, the company that owns ISS. Anyways, MSCI now has posted an announcement that it’s exploring strategic alternatives regarding ISS, including a “full separation.” Here’s a Reuters article.

This news comes on the heels that Ontario Teachers sold 20% of its stake in Glass Lewis to an institutional investment manager as I blogged about in the “Proxy Season Blog.”

Global Proxy Advisory Firms Seek to Develop Best Practices

Meanwhile, a group of six proxy advisors from around the world – ISS, Glass Lewis, IVOX, Manifest, PIRC and Proxinvest – recently announced a consultation entitled “Best Practice Principles for Governance Research Providers” in an effort to come up with principles for their industry. This initiative follows a similar effort by the European Securities and Market Authority (on the “Proxy Season Blog,” I’ve covered ESMA’s efforts several times – including this one and this one). Comments are due by December 20th – with the goal to finalize principles in February.

Wild! This story about a lawsuit filed against Twitter for – allegedly – fraudulently using an aborted sale to set a $10 billion valuation for itself and a floor price for the IPO is pretty shocking. Although maybe the lawsuit’s angle doesn’t quite make sense because some executives want a low valuation so that the IPO pops out of the gate…

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– Broc Romanek