Influential proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services will be sold by parent company MSCI to Vestar Capital Partners, a private equity firm, in a $364 million transaction that is expected to close in the second quarter. ISS will operate independently once the transaction is completed and the current executive team will remain in place, a statement announcing the deal says.

MSCI,a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, acquired ISS in 2010 as part of its acquisition of RiskMetrics Group. ISS, founded in 1985, is based in Maryland and has 700 employees at15 global offices in 10 countries. It was back in November that MSCI's board of directors first authorized an “exploration of strategic alternatives” regarding ISS.