Investment research firm Morningstar Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Standard and Poor’s mutual fund data business for $55 million in cash.

The business consists of data and products covering more than 135,000 managed investment vehicles, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, hedge funds and offshore funds. As part of the deal, Standard and Poor’s, which is a division of the McGraw-Hill Cos., will license fund data from Morningstar after the acquisition is completed.

Joe Mansueto, chairman and chief executive of Morningstar, said that the deal will also give his company a much stronger presence outside the United States, particularly in Europe, where Standard and Poor’s has operated for more than 20 years. Approximately 80 percent of the mutual fund data business is located outside the United States.

More than 1,100 institutions use Standard and Poor’s fund data products, and Morningstar expects to extend its reach to about 10,000 new advisors outside the United States. Upon completion of the acquisition, Morningstar expects to provide investment data to more than 200 publications and media outlets worldwide.

The deal is subject to post-closing adjustments. The companies expect to complete the transaction in March.

More information, and a question-and-answer page, is available at http://global.morningstar.com/SP.

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