Picking through the wreckage of the financial-services collapse, Joseph Mansueto has embarked on a push to make Morningstar Inc. the “premier database” for the world’s investors. But in his ambitious move to grow Morningstar beyond its mutual-fund rating roots, he is running up against some formidable competition.
Since the beginning of 2008, Mr. Mansueto — who owns 68% of the company he founded — has spent $123 million to buy nine companies, all but one in the data business. They range from Dallas-based 10-K Wizard Technology LLC, an online database for U.S. companies’ financial filings, to Ipreo Holdings LLC’s Hemscott, a London-based provider of data on publicly traded companies.
Next, Mr. Mansueto, 52, said he wants to “buy or build” a database for bonds, expand into private-equity data and broaden his reach globally. That would put him into increasing competition with the giants of the financial data industry, including Bloomberg L.P. and Thomson Reuters Corp., both in New York.
“We are starting to bump up against them more, but at $500 million, we’re still very small,” Mr. Mansueto said, referring to annual sales. Thomson Reuters has annual sales of $13 billion; Bloomberg generates an estimated $6 billion. “I think we’re still a very simple organization in that we’re still focused on investors.”
Morningstar has grown exponentially since publishing its first quarterly data book on mutual funds 25 years ago. It now covers stocks, hedge funds and college savings plans and runs an asset-management business with more than $60 billion under advisement. Its physical footprint has expanded to match. Early this year, the firm completed its move into eight floors of new offices in Chicago. On the main floor, the Modernist space is all glass walls, sliding doors and Scandinavian-inspired furniture. It also boasts a TV studio and a large cafeteria with rows of wood tables where employees can sip free soft drinks.