MSCI Inc. (NYSE: MSCI), a leading provider of investment decision support tools worldwide, announced today that its Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $300 million of MSCI’s shares of common stock. As part of this authorization, MSCI has entered into a $100 million Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR) agreement with Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, which will begin immediately. The $200 million balance of the authorization will be available for utilization from time to time through 2014 at the company’s discretion.
“MSCI’s long-term growth remains supported by secular investment trends, including the globalization of investing; the growing popularity of passive investing; the need to measure, manage and report risk; and the growing focus on issues of sustainability and governance. The $300 million share repurchase authorization reflects our confidence in the long-term strength of the company and our commitment to a very disciplined capital deployment strategy,” said Henry Fernandez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
"Our strong cash position and robust cash flow allow us to rapidly return $100 million to shareholders in the form of an ASR. While our focus remains on funding our organic growth opportunities and pursuing attractive strategic opportunities, we are confident that our future cash generation will remain strong and will enable us to provide our shareholders an additional return of capital,” added Mr. Fernandez.
Under the ASR agreement, MSCI will pay Morgan Stanley $100 million in cash and receive approximately 2.2 million shares of its common stock at the inception of the ASR and may receive from Morgan Stanley additional shares at or prior to maturity of the ASR. The total number of shares to be repurchased will be based primarily on an arithmetic average of the volume-weighted average prices of MSCI common stock on each trading day during the repurchase period. This average price will be capped such that only under limited circumstances will MSCI be required to pay cash or deliver shares to Morgan Stanley at settlement. The company anticipates that all repurchases under the ASR will be completed no later than July 2013, which is the final date of the repurchase period, although Morgan Stanley has the right to accelerate settlement of the ASR under certain circumstances.