TEXT-S&P: MSCI Inc ratings, outlook unaffected by repurchase
Dec 14 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that New York City-based MSCI Inc.'s (BB+/Stable/--) announcement that it will repurchase up to $300 million of common stock does not affect our ratings on MSCI. As part of the authorization, MSCI will immediately deploy $100 million of its $309 million cash balance as of September (pro forma for the $125 million cash acquisition of IPD Group completed in November) to enter into an accelerated share repurchase agreement with Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC (A/Negative/A-1). The balance of the authorization may be implemented by 2014. This announcement does not affect our view of MSCI's ratings or outlook. MSCI's liquidity profile is considered "adequate", despite the announced $100 million accelerated share repurchase and the $125 million acquisition of IPD Group. We expect the company to generate consistently positive free operating cash flow in fiscal 2013. While we expect share repurchases and tuck-in acquisitions to continue, we anticipate that MSCI will maintain adjusted leverage consistent with the "intermediate" financial risk profile. MSCI's current leverage is about 2.3x as of the September quarter.