OLD Media Moves

Morningstar buys Footnoted.org blog

February 9, 2010

Morningstar Inc. announced Tuesday that it acquired the Footnoted.org blog and the related Footnoted Pro service for an undisclosed price.

Footnoted.org, a well-known business journalism blog, was founded in 2003 by business journalist Michelle Leder.

Footnoted’s research staff reads hundreds of SEC filings a day to unearth information buried in the fine print, such as evidence of aggressive accounting, excessive compensation, or the type of questionable self-dealing that can indicate more serious problems at a company.

With insight and analysis culled from corporate filings, Footnoted’s free site has become a must-read for professional money managers and analysts, as well as sophisticated individual investors.

The company also publishes Footnoted Pro, a service for institutional investors, such as hedge fund firms, that provides insight on actionable items and trends in filings.

Leder will continue to run Footnoted, and Morningstar will make some content from the site available on Morningstar.com, the company’s investment website.

In the near future, footnoted.org will become footnoted.com. Additionally, Morningstar will also offer Footnoted Pro to its individual investor, advisor, and institutional clients.

“Footnoted and Morningstar share a common goal to shed light on investing, but many investors remain in the dark,” Leder said in a statement. “For the past six years, Footnoted’s small staff has uncovered lots of examples of self-serving actions at publicly traded companies. As part of Morningstar, we’ll be able to provide Footnoted.org’s loyal readers with additional resources from a trusted source for independent research, and we’ll expose thousands of Morningstar clients to our unique content — and what’s truly lurking in public filings.”

Leder became interested in SEC filings early in her career, while writing about a small Florida bank that was engaged in aggressive accounting during the last real estate boom.

As a reporter and editor, she spent 10 years at daily newspapers in Florida, Connecticut, and New York. As a freelance business journalist, her work has appeared in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Portfolio and Slate, among others.

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