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Margaret Kirch Cohenmargaret.cohen@morningstar.com
Morningstar, Inc. Reports First-Quarter 2008 Financial Results
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CHICAGO, May 1, 2008—Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, today announced its first-quarter 2008 financial results. The company reported consolidated revenue of $125.4 million in the first quarter of 2008, a 31.4% increase from revenue of $95.4 million in the first quarter of 2007. Morningstar’s first-quarter results included $11.1 million in revenue from acquisitions made during 2008 and 2007. Consolidated operating income was $34.7 million in the first quarter of 2008, an increase of 44.4% compared with $24.0 million in the first quarter of 2007. Morningstar’s net income was $23.1 million in the first quarter of 2008, or 47 cents per diluted share, compared with $15.8 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2007.

Excluding acquisitions and the impact of foreign currency translations, Morningstar’s revenue increased 17.4% in the first quarter of 2008. Foreign currency translations had a positive impact of $2.3 million in the first quarter. Revenue excluding acquisitions and foreign currency translations is a non-GAAP measure; the accompanying financial tables contain a reconciliation to consolidated revenue.

“We’re pleased with our results during the quarter,” said Joe Mansueto, chairman and chief executive officer of Morningstar. “We continued to generate healthy organic revenue growth, driven by strong gains in both Investment Consulting and Licensed Data. Assets under advisement for Investment Consulting grew 36% compared with the first quarter of 2007. We faced a headwind as the market declined, though, resulting in slightly lower asset levels in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the fourth quarter of 2007. We’ve also seen signs of belt-tightening among some of our clients, but it has not been widespread.”

Mansueto added, “Our operating margin increased by about 2 percentage points compared with the first quarter of 2007, and we continue to see opportunities across all segments of our business. We have a strong balance sheet and ended the quarter with more than $215 million in cash and investments and no debt, after paying annual bonuses and completing our acquisition of Hemscott’s data, media, and investor relations Web site businesses.

“With the addition of Hemscott, we’re creating a world-class global equity database and expanding our international operations. We’ve moved quickly to integrate Hemscott’s sizable data processing center in India into Morningstar, which is already benefiting our operations. The fund data business we acquired from S&P last year also contributed to revenue growth during the quarter. As a result of these acquisitions, as well as continued organic growth, our international operations now account for about one-fourth of our revenue.”

Key Business Drivers
Revenue: In the first quarter of 2008, revenue in the Institutional segment rose 47.7% compared with the first quarter of 2007; 20 percentage points of this increase came from acquisitions. Revenue in the Advisor segment grew 18.2%, with 4 percentage points of the increase coming from acquisitions. Individual segment revenue rose 13.7%, and 2 percentage points came from acquisitions.

Revenue from international operations was $30.3 million in the first quarter of 2008, an increase of 94.3% from the same period a year ago. International revenue included $8.9 million from acquisitions. Foreign currency translations had a positive impact of $2.3 million on international revenue. Excluding the impact of acquisitions and foreign currency translations, international revenue increased 22.5% in the first quarter of 2008, compared with the prior-year period. International revenue excluding acquisitions and foreign currency translations is a non-GAAP measure; the accompanying financial tables contain a reconciliation to international revenue.

Operating Income: Consolidated operating income was $34.7 million in the first quarter of 2008, a 44.4% increase from the same period in 2007. Operating expense rose $19.4 million, or 27.1%, in the first quarter of 2008; about two-thirds of the increase was due to higher compensation-related costs.

Compensation-related expense, excluding bonuses, increased $10.5 million, mainly because of continued hiring and incremental headcount from acquisitions. Bonus expense increased $2.5 million in the quarter. Morningstar had approximately 2,040 employees worldwide as of March 31, 2008, compared with 1,650 as of March 31, 2007. This growth primarily reflects acquisitions and continued hiring in the United States and China.

Other factors contributing to the increase in operating expense include higher lease expense for the company’s new corporate headquarters and offices outside the United States. The company also had higher marketing expense related to promoting annual publications in the first quarter. These expense increases were partially offset by lower legal and professional fees. Because of the timing of acquisitions in 2008 and 2007, Morningstar had additional expense in the first quarter of 2008 that did not exist in the same period in 2007, including amortization of intangible assets related to acquisitions, which contributed $1.5 million to the change in operating expense in the quarter.

The company’s operating margin was 27.6% in the first quarter of 2008, compared with 25.2% in the same period in 2007. The margin improved partly because the company had $1.3 million in product implementation expense related to the Advice by Ibbotson service in the first quarter of 2007 that did not recur in the current quarter. In addition, while office lease expense rose as a percentage of revenue, lower legal fees, professional fees, and other general and administrative expense as a percentage of revenue more than offset the increase.

Effective Tax Rate: The company’s effective tax rate in the first quarter of 2008 was 36.9%, a decrease of 2.6 percentage points compared with the prior-year period. The 2008 effective tax rate reflects a reduction in the company’s U.S. state tax rate related to a 2007 change in state tax law as well as the favorable impact of lower tax rates outside of the United States.

Free Cash Flow: Morningstar generated negative free cash flow of $5.3 million in the first quarter of 2008, reflecting cash provided by operating activities of $1.4 million and $6.7 million of capital expenditures, primarily because of the company’s new corporate headquarters in Chicago. Morningstar typically pays annual bonuses in the first quarter. As a result, cash flow from operations in the first quarter tends to be lower compared with subsequent quarters.

Free cash flow decreased by approximately $11.7 million compared with the prior-year period, because of a $7.0 million decrease in cash flow from operations and an increase in capital expenditures of $4.7 million. Morningstar paid higher bonuses in the first quarter of 2008, partially offset by the favorable cash flow impact of net income adjusted for non-cash items.

Free cash flow is a non-GAAP measure; the accompanying financial tables contain a reconciliation to cash provided by or used for operating activities. Morningstar defines free cash flow as cash provided by or used for operating activities less capital expenditures.

As of March 31, 2008, Morningstar had cash, cash equivalents, and investments of $215.7 million, compared with $258.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2007. The decrease primarily reflects $51.2 million paid in the first quarter of 2008 for the Hemscott acquisition. In addition, the company made $49.3 million of annual bonus payments in the first quarter of 2008.

Business Segment Performance
Individual Segment: The largest product in this segment based on revenue is the company’s U.S.-based Web site for individual investors, Morningstar.com®. The Individual segment also includes Morningstar® Equity Research and several print and online publications.

  • Revenue was $27.4 million in the first quarter of 2008, a 13.7% increase from $24.1 million in the first quarter of 2007.
  • The Hemscott acquisition contributed revenue of $0.5 million to the Individual segment in the first quarter.
  • Morningstar.com, including Premium Membership and Internet advertising sales, drove just under half of the segment’s organic revenue growth. Morningstar.com had 181,778 Premium subscriptions as of March 31, 2008, compared with 171,709 as of March 31, 2007. In the first quarter of 2008, the general market weakness affected subscriber growth. Morningstar.com added about 1,410 subscribers in the quarter, versus approximately 5,750 in the first quarter a year ago. Morningstar Equity Research was the second-largest contributor to organic revenue growth for this segment.
  • Operating income was $5.8 million in the first quarter of 2008, up 8.1% from $5.3 million in the first quarter of 2007.
  • Despite the modest growth in operating income, operating margin declined to 21.1% in the first quarter of 2008, compared with 22.1% in the first quarter of 2007. The margin decline was primarily the result of higher sales and marketing and development expenses as a percentage of revenue, mainly from expanded marketing and additional headcount.

Advisor Segment: The largest products in this segment based on revenue are Morningstar® Advisor WorkstationSM, Morningstar® Principia®, and Morningstar® Managed PortfoliosSM.

  • Revenue was $30.7 million in the first quarter of 2008, an increase of 18.2% from $26.0 million in the same period a year ago.
  • Acquisitions contributed revenue of $1.1 million to the Advisor segment in the first quarter, the majority of which reflects revenue from the fund data business acquired from Standard and Poor’s.
  • Morningstar Advisor Workstation continued to drive organic revenue growth. Total licenses for Morningstar Advisor Workstation in the United States increased to 178,619 as of March 31, 2008, compared with 160,014 as of March 31, 2007. Morningstar Managed Portfolios also contributed to the organic revenue increase, but to a lesser extent.
  • Operating income was $8.8 million in the first quarter of 2008, an increase of 28.3% compared with $6.9 million in the first quarter of 2007.
  • Operating margin was 28.7% in the first quarter of 2008, compared with 26.4% in the first quarter of 2007. Lower sales and marketing and general and administrative expense as a percentage of revenue contributed to the margin improvement.

Institutional Segment: The largest products and services in this segment based on revenue are Investment Consulting, Licensed Data, Morningstar DirectSM, Retirement Advice (including Advice by Ibbotson® and Morningstar® Retirement ManagerSM), and Licensed Tools and Content.

  • Revenue was $69.9 million in the first quarter of 2008, a 47.7% increase from $47.4 million in the first quarter of 2007.
  • Acquisitions contributed revenue of $9.5 million to the Institutional segment in the first quarter, including the fund data business acquired from Standard and Poor’s and several Hemscott businesses.
  • Investment Consulting and Licensed Data drove most of the revenue growth in the first quarter. Total assets under advisement for Investment Consulting increased 36% year over year. However, because of the market downturn, which was partially offset by net inflows and new clients added by Ibbotson Associates, assets declined about 2% sequentially from the fourth quarter of 2007. Morningstar Direct was the next largest contributor to revenue growth, and the number of licenses for Morningstar Direct grew to 2,461 worldwide as of March 31, 2008, compared with 1,505 as of March 31, 2007.
  • Operating income was $24.2 million in the first quarter of 2008, a 62.0% increase from $14.9 million in the same period in 2007.
  • Operating margin improved to 34.6% in the first quarter of 2008, compared with 31.5% in the prior-year period. In the first quarter of 2008, product implementation fees related to Advice by Ibbotson were negligible; in contrast, they represented 2.8% of this segment’s revenue in the first quarter of 2007.

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 Internet, software, and print-based products and services for individuals, financial advisors, and institutions. Morningstar provides data on more than 270,000 investment offerings, including stocks, mutual funds, and similar vehicles. The company has operations in 18 countries and minority ownership positions in companies based in three other countries.

Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as that term is used in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on our current expectations about future events or future financial performance. Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain, and often contain words such as “may,” “could,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “seek,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” or “continue.” These statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the events we discussed not to occur or to differ significantly from what we expected. For us, these risks and uncertainties include, among others, general industry conditions and competition; damage to our reputation resulting from claims made about possible conflicts of interest; liability for any losses that result from an actual or claimed breach of our fiduciary duties; legal, regulatory, or political issues related to our data center in China; the potential impact of market volatility on revenue from asset-based fees; a prolonged outage of our database and network facilities; challenges faced by our non-U.S. operations; and the availability of free or low-cost investment information. A more complete description of these risks and uncertainties can be found in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007. If any of these risks and uncertainties materialize, our actual future results may vary significantly from what we projected. We do not undertake to update our forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures
To supplement Morningstar’s consolidated financial statements presented in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Morningstar uses the following measures considered as non-GAAP by the Securities and Exchange Commission: free cash flow, consolidated revenue excluding acquisitions and foreign currency translations (organic revenue), and international revenue excluding acquisitions and foreign currency translations. These non-GAAP measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.

Morningstar presents free cash flow solely as supplemental disclosure to help investors better understand how much cash is available after Morningstar spends money to operate its business. Morningstar uses free cash flow to evaluate the performance of its business. Free cash flow should not be considered an alternative to any measure of performance as promulgated under GAAP (such as cash provided by (used for) operating, investing, and financing activities). For more information on free cash flow, please see the reconciliation from cash provided by operating activities to free cash flow included in the accompanying financial tables. Morningstar presents consolidated revenue excluding acquisitions and foreign currency translations (organic revenue) and international revenue excluding acquisitions and foreign currency translations because the company believes these non-GAAP measures help investors better compare period-to-period results. For more information, please see the reconciliation provided in the accompanying financial tables.

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© 2008 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

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