Morningstar agrees to buy Ibbotson Associates for $83 million |

Morningstar agrees to buy Ibbotson Associates for $83 million

CHICAGO – Morningstar Inc., the mutual-fund and stock research company, has agreed to buy financial consulting firm Ibbotson Associates for $83 million, the two companies announced Monday.Privately held Ibbotson, which like Morningstar is based in Chicago, provides asset allocation and fund research to institutions and manages 401(k) and other defined contribution plans. It had $37 million in revenue for its 2005 fiscal year, making it about a quarter the size of Morningstar.Joe Mansueto, Morningstar’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the acquisition will strengthen Morningstar’s institutional and adviser businesses and make it one of the largest independent providers of managed retirement accounts in the industry.”We will immediately broaden our reach in the areas of investment consulting, investment management and managed retirement accounts,” he said.Ibbotson’s founder Roger Ibbotson and its president, Mike Henkel, said they will stay with the expanded company.The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2006.Shares of Morningstar fell 50 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $34.34 Monday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. They have nearly doubled since going public at an initial public offering price of $18.50 in May.—On the

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