Morningstar France Holding, a subsidiary of US-based Morningstar, a provider of independent investment research, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Seeds Group, a provider of investment consulting services and fund research in France.

Seeds Group and its affiliates have 12 employees based in Paris. After the acquisition is completed, Jean-Francois Bay, co-founder and CEO of Seeds Group, and Vianney Dubois, co-founder and managing director, will continue to lead the business and the company will become a subsidiary of Morningstar France.

In addition to investment consulting, Seeds Group also operates, a fund research and investment education website for adviser groups and institutions.

Joe Mansueto, chairman and CEO of Morningstar, said: “Our acquisition of Seeds Group will expand our investment consulting services in France, which has the largest asset management market in Europe. 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.”

Mr Bay said: “Morningstar is a good fit for Seeds Group because we share a common commitment to providing independent, unbiased research and advisory services that meet the specific needs of clients. The opportunity to become a part of a global company like Morningstar will allow us to expand our business into new channels and leverage expertise from across the company. Its extensive fund databases and analysis will also complement our research and analytical offerings.”

Morningstar and Seeds expect to complete the transaction within the next few months, subject to customary closing conditions.