Morningstar announced Thursday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire HelloWallet Holdings Inc., a provider of online financial wellness, for $52.5 million, including the stake it already owns.
Once the transaction is completed, which Morningstar said will occur in the coming days, Morningstar will pay $39 million; it currently has a minority stake in the company valued at $13.5 million.
Morningstar, through its advisory subsidiaries, is the largest provider of managed retirement accounts by participants served, with almost 1 million individuals enrolled. The acquisition will bring together HelloWallet’s comprehensive financial wellness expertise with Morningstar’s independent, research-based retirement advice to create a holistic retirement savings and advice offering.
“There is a strong mission and cultural alignment between Morningstar and HelloWallet,” said Brock Johnson, head of retirement solutions for Morningstar, in a statement. “Both firms are independent, entrepreneurial, and grounded in academic research. We want to bring together HelloWallet’s expertise in behavioral and consumer research and analytics with Morningstar’s investment management capabilities to create the first holistic solution for the retirement market.”
Dr. Matt Fellowes, a consumer finance expert and former Brookings Institution scholar who founded Washington-based HelloWallet in 2009, will maintain his leadership role in the company, which has about 50 employees.
In January 2012, Morningstar became a HelloWallet investor with $6.75 million in Series B funding.