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Press release from PR Newswire

Morningstar Publishes Merger and Acquisition Insights Report for 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Morningstar Publishes Merger and Acquisition Insights Report for 201210:37 EST Wednesday, January 18, 2012Identifies top 20 investment ideas among potential takeover candidatesCHICAGO, Jan. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, today published its merger and acquisition insights report for 2012, "Economic Headwinds Shift Catalysts for Takeover Activity." Morningstar's comprehensive research report includes investment ideas among its list of potential takeover candidates, M&A analysis by sector, credit implications of M&A activity, and investing opportunities for option investors.Bridget Freas, CFA, senior equity analyst for Morningstar and co-editor of the report, said, "The pace of mergers and acquisitions has slowed following robust activity in the first half of 2011, but we still see ample opportunity for deals in the coming year as buyers look to scoop up businesses with stable growth prospects in an uncertain economic environment. Equity values have rebounded in the last few months across most sectors; however, we're starting to see a greater disparity in stock prices. Industry consolidation and M&A as an avenue to emerging markets are likely to be recurring themes. The weakened credit markets pose a challenge, but there are still quite a few cash-rich firms looking for bargains and the low valuations in sectors such as basic materials, energy, and financial services may be enticing."Despite the rising hurdles for M&A deals, several of the takeover targets Morningstar identified in the last 12 months have already accepted acquisition offers. From Morningstar's 2011 list of likely takeover candidates and acquirers, six companies?BJ's Wholesale, Constellation Energy, Massey Energy, Petrohawk Energy, Pride International, and Temple-Inland?have announced a deal, two of which were also highlighted as top investment ideas. All six companies saw stock price appreciation of at least 17 percent from the time Morningstar named them to the potential takeover list to the time they accepted takeover offers. Several potential acquirers on the list also announced deals in 2011, including 3M, AGCO, Broadcom, Danaher, Exelon, SAB Miller, United Technologies, and VFC Corporation. According to Morningstar, the top 20 investment ideas among potential takeover candidates in 2012 are:Abiomed AeroVironment American Eagle Amerigroup Charles River Chico's FAS Cloud Peak Energy Collective Brands Dice Holdings Icon Leap Wireless Mosaic Myriad Genetics NASDAQ OMX Group NII Holdings Range Resources Riverbed Technology SandRidge Energy Transocean Ultra Petroleum In the 2012 research report, Morningstar equity analysts identified a total of 87 takeover targets across nine sectors: basic materials, consumer, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrials, technology/communication services, and utilities. Potential takeover candidates for each sector were determined by unique and proprietary scoring systems for each sector, based on industry-specific drivers of merger and acquisition activity as well as factors such as free cash flow, management, and capital structure.Morningstar then examined its list of potential takeover candidates across all nine sectors to identify the 20 most compelling stocks for 2012. Morningstar selected companies that are the most attractively priced based on their price/fair value ratio and ranking in their respective, sector-specific potential takeover candidate list.To view the executive summary of Morningstar's merger and acquisition insights report for 2012, please visit: The full report is available to institutional investors through Morningstar Select, the company's institutional equity research portal. For access, institutional investors may contact About Morningstar, Inc.Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company offers an extensive line of products and services for individuals, financial advisors, and institutions. Morningstar provides data on approximately 330,000 investment offerings, including stocks, mutual funds, and similar vehicles, along with real-time global market data on more than 5 million equities, indexes, futures, options, commodities, and precious metals, in addition to foreign exchange and Treasury markets. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its registered investment advisor subsidiaries and has more than $167 billion in assets under advisement and management as of Sept. 30, 2011. The company has operations in 26 countries.©2012 Morningstar, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.MORN-RMedia Contact:Nadine Youssef, 312-696-6601 or SOURCE Morningstar, Inc.