Morningstar will brand Aspect Huntley and InvestorInfo products with its own mark, its Australian CEO, Scott Cooley, said yesterday after the US-based firm revealed it paid $30 million in cash for the equities research house.

“Over time you’ll see the Morningstar brand on more products,” Cooley said. The acquisition ends months of speculation and fills the direct equities ‘hole’ in Morningstar’s suite of research product offerings. Morningstar also examined establishing its own direct equities capability, as its parent has done in the US, but after a review of the market decided Aspect Huntley was too good a fit to pass up. “We were fortunate to find a company that shares our values. Their approach to equity analysis is very long-term. They don’t do company paid research,” Cooley said. Limited redundancies are expected as both the organisations are “;pretty lean”;. There are no plans to sell any parts of the business in the immediate future. “We didn’t buy any of that to resell it,” Cooley said. A decision on what to do with the IFA and Investor Weekly publications has not yet been made but Cooley said he saw no reason why the magazines would not continue under their current mastheads. “It’s not really unusual for our type of business to have media interests,” he said. Aspect Huntley acquired InvestorInfo in December last year. Investor Supermarket, InvestorInfo’s database of superannuation funds, is expected to be incorporated into Morningstar’s data products. According to a statement from Morningstar Inc, for the 11 months ended May 31, 2006, Aspect Huntley had approximately $10.8 million in revenue, which included a contribution of $1.4 million for the five months ended May 31, 2006, from InvestorInfo. The statement also said that current executive directors Ian Huntley and Andrew Bird would continue with the business and non-executive director Tony Young would provide some consulting services. Tony Young was the largest shareholder in InvestorInfo and a shareholder in Aspect Huntley at the time of the takeover last year.

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