Morningstar Inc. has agreed to buy Realpoint LLC, a rating agency that specializes in commercial mortgage-backed securities, for $52 million.

In a press release Friday, Morningstar Chairman and Chief Executive Joe Mansueto cited strong demand for “unbiased ratings and research in the structured credit market.”

He added, “Together, we want to restore credibility to the credit rating business and be a positive force in rating structured products.”

Credit rating agencies came under fire in the financial crisis for how they rated billions of dollars in mortgage-related securities, which turned toxic as the subprime loans that helped fuel the U.S. housing bubble started to default.

Morningstar announced in December that it had begun publishing credit ratings for companies, extending its reach beyond stock market research.

Morningstar said it expects to complete the Realpoint deal in the next few months. It is to pay $42 million in cash and $10 million in restricted stock.

The privately held Realpoint generated about $12 million of revenue last year. Morningstar generated 10 times that amount.

Realpoint offers securities ratings, research, surveillance services and data to help institutional investors identify credit risk in commercial mortgage-backed securities. Its more than 225 institutional subscribers include a majority of the money managers who invest in such securities.

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