Morningstar France Holding, a subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ:MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Seeds Group, a leading provider of investment consulting services and fund research in France. The companies expect to complete the transaction within the next few months, subject to customary closing conditions. Terms were not disclosed.
Seeds Group was founded in 2002 and, through its subsidiary Seeds Finance, provides investment consulting services to pension funds, insurance companies, asset managers, banks, and brokerage firms. With more than 30 clients, the company and its affiliates specialize in asset liability management (ALM), manager selection, plan construction, risk, and portfolio management in alternative investments and active strategies.
"Our acquisition of Seeds Group will expand our investment consulting services in France, which has the largest asset management market in Europe," said Joe Mansueto, chairman and chief executive officer of Morningstar. "Seeds Group has a well-known and well-regarded brand in the French institutional market along with a talented management team, whose expertise in alternative investments will enhance our fund-of-funds investment management capabilities."
In addition to investment consulting, Seeds Group also operates Multiratings.com, a fund research and investment education website for advisor groups and institutions. With both basic and premium subscription levels, the site offers editorial and video commentary, fund and industry analysis, and research tools.
"Morningstar is a good fit for Seeds Group because we share a common commitment to providing independent, unbiased research and advisory services that meet the specific needs of clients," said Jean-Francois Bay, co-founder and chief executive officer of Seeds Group. "The opportunity to become a part of a global company like Morningstar will allow us to expand our business into new channels and leverage expertise from across the company. Its extensive fund databases and analysis will also complement our research and analytical offerings."
Bay added, "We will be able to offer clients local expertise and global reach, a timely combination given major changes in the European asset management market. Challenges ranging from recent regulatory changes to pension deficits across Europe are driving demand for new investment tools and services to help investors manage their long-term savings."
Seeds Group and its affiliates have 12 employees based in Paris. After the acquisition is completed, Jean-Francois Bay and Vianney Dubois, co-founder and managing director, will continue to lead the business and the company will become a subsidiary of Morningstar France.