GLOBAL - Investment research company, Morningstar has acquired Standard and Poor's (S&P) mutual fund data business for $55m (€42m), the company announced today after signing a definitive agreement.

The cash acquisition only involves S&P's fund data, covering mutual, exchange-rated funds, hedge and offshore funds.

S&P will retain the fund research and ratings business, a spokesman told IPE.

"Under terms of the agreement, Standard and Poor's will license fund data from Morningstar after the acquisition is completed," which is expected to be in March, the Morningstar said in a statement.

Joe Mansueto, chairman and chief executive of the Chicago-based researcher, said, when announcing the move: "The combination of Morningstar's industry-standard investment data and Standard and Poor's international mutual funds data will significantly strengthen our global database and our offering to investors."

The acquisition will also strengthen Morningstar's presence outside the United States, particularly in Europe, the firm said.

S&P decided to sell its data unit as it is "an input to the research and the ratings process [and hence] peripheral to the core analytical activities," the spokesman told IPE.