January 22, 2010 / 11:36 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 3-RiskMetrics up for sale -- source

* Evercore handling sale-source

* Number of interested parties-source (Adds analyst’s comments)

NEW YORK/BANGALORE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Risk advisory firm RiskMetrics Group Inc RMG.N has put itself up for sale and has spoken to potential bidders, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday.

Boutique bank Evercore Partners is handling the sale, two sources familiar with the situation said. They asked not to be named because the process is not yet public.

A deadline has not been set for the first round of bids, but the seller has spoken to interested parties, the first source said.

The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, which said the company could fetch around $1.3 billion in an auction.

The newspaper reported that a number of media and private equity companies had been contacted about the potential acquisition of RiskMetrics.

According to the report, MSCI Inc MXB.N, Bloomberg, McGraw-Hill Cos Inc MHP.N and Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO)(TRI.N) are the interested parties.

“Our favourite candidate would be MSCI. They are at the top of the list,” Piper Jaffray analyst George Tong told Reuters.

A 30 percent premium on the unaffected stock price looks reasonable, he added.

In a note to clients earlier in the day, the brokerage had said RiskMetrics could potentially make an attractive acquisition target for a larger information services firm given its stalled share price and significant insider ownership.

RiskMetrics, which was spun off from JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) in September 1998, is the market leader in risk management solutions. The company got a major boost with its famous “4:15 report,” which was delivered to clients after close of market on every business day, assessing the risk element of their investments.

RiskMetrics, MSCI and Bloomberg could not be reached for comment. Thomson Reuters and McGraw-Hill declined comment. (Reporting by Jui Chakravorty and Megan Davies in New York and Anurag Kotoky in Bangalore; additional reporting by Robert MacMillan; editing by Andre Grenon and Anil D’Silva)

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