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Morningstar takes stake in ESG researcher Sustainalytics

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Morningstar Inc. has acquired a 40% stake in environmental, social and governance research firm Sustainalytics, the companies announced in a joint news release Monday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The transaction "represents an important milestone in Morningstar's long-term sustainability strategy and intends to support Sustainalytics' ability to deliver high-quality, innovative ESG products and services to the global investment community," the release said.

The two companies had collaborated in the March 2016 launch of the Morningstar Sustainability Rating, which covers 35,000 mutual funds and exchange-traded funds utilizing Sustainalytics' ESG research, and the launch of the Global Sustainability Index family in October.

"Enhancing this relationship enables us to leverage the expertise Sustainalytics has built over the last 25 years, and build on the momentum we started with the launch of the Sustainability Rating," said Kunal Kapoor, Morningstar's CEO, in the news release. "We have the largest ESG fund coverage universe today, and we look forward to continuing to meet the increasingly sophisticated ESG needs and requirements of our clients through integrated solutions and innovative research that highlights good stewardship, lower costs, and transparency for investors."

Sasha Bigda, Morningstar spokeswoman, and Cheryl Gustitus, Sustainalytics spokeswoman, could not be reached immediately to provide further information.