RiskMetrics Group has formed an agreement to acquire Institutional Shareholder Services, the two companies announced Wednesday. Both are looking to expand beyond proxy voting, corporate governance and risk management solutions to offer data, analytics and investor advice. ISS, which had been up for sale since the summer, will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of the acquiring firm, with CEO John M. Connolly continuing in his role at ISS.

“As financial markets become more important and complex, RiskMetrics Group is committed to providing expertise and leadership to all market participants,” said Ethan Berman, chief executive officer of RiskMetrics.

The deal is expected to close either by the end of the year or in early 2007. Although financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, The Wall Street Journal reported that it was for $553 million in cash and stock.

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