Morningstar will be acquiring Seeds Group, a provider of investment consulting services and fund research in France.

The companies expect to complete the deal within the next few months. Seeds Group was founded in 2002 and offers 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.

In addition to investment consulting, Seeds Group also operates Multiratings.com, a fund research and investment education Web site 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.

“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.”

“We will be able to offer clients local expertise and global reach, a timely combination given major changes in the European asset management market," said Jean-Francois Bay, co-founder and chief executive officer of Seeds Group. "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 purchase is completed, 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.

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