Investment research firm Morningstar has agreed to take sole control of Dutch-domiciled ESG research and ratings firm Sustainalytics by buying the balance 60% interest.

The deal includes an initial cash payment of €55m.

It also includes further cash payments in 2021 and 2022 based on the revenues of the acquired entity.

Morningstar has valued the ESG research firm at €170m.

It intends to continue to invest in Sustainalytics’ existing operations while further integrating ESG data into its own platform.

As part of the deal, Morningstar will absorb more than 650 employees of Sustainalytics.

The Sustainalytics leadership team will also be retained.

The deal will be financed through cash and debt, with closure anticipated in the third quarter of this year.

Sustainalytics CEO Michael Jantzi said: “This new ownership structure will amplify our ability to bring meaningful ESG insights, products, and services to the global investment community and to companies around the world.”

Morningstar picked a 40% stake in Sustainalytics in 2017.

Sustainalytics provides data on 40,000 companies and ratings on 20,000 companies and on 172 countries.

The business has 16 branches across the globe.

Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor said: “By coming together, Morningstar and Sustainalytics will fast track our ability to put independent, sustainable investing analytics at every level – from a single security through to a portfolio view – in the hands of all investors.”