Morningstar Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to buy DBRS, the world's fourth-largest credit ratings agency, for $669 million.
The addition of DBRS will expand Morningstar's global asset class coverage and provide an enhanced platform for providing investors with leading fixed-income analysis and research.
Chicago-based Morningstar is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
"The chance to empower investors with the independent research and opinions they need across a multitude of securities first drove our decision to enter the credit ratings business," Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor said in a statement. "DBRS and Morningstar share research-centric cultures committed to rigor and independence. Together, we believe we can elevate the industry with the world's first fintech ratings agency backed by state-of-the-art models, modern technology, and expert research teams that issuers and investors can count on to deliver transparent and independent ratings."
As the world's fourth-largest credit ratings agency, DBRS rates more than 2,400 issuer families and nearly 50,000 securities worldwide. The Carlyle Group and Warburg Pincus led the acquisition of DBRS in 2014.
DBRS reported $167 million in revenue for the fiscal year ended Nov. 30, 2018.
"DBRS's more than 40 years of experience and success coupled with Morningstar's proven capabilities will offer an even stronger global alternative to larger ratings agencies," DBRS CEO Stephen Joynt said in a statemet. "Both DBRS and Morningstar are driven by similar core values that aim to bring more clarity, diversity, transparency, and responsiveness to the ratings process, which makes Morningstar a perfect fit for us."
Lazard Frères & Co. LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to DBRS, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as legal counsel to DBRS. Winston & Strawn LLP served as legal counsel to Morningstar.