An 8-K from the mothership…

As most readers know, Morningstar (MORN) acquired footnoted back in February. As I footnoted in my post about the deal, I was attracted to the company’s openness and its interest in growing footnoted. In the interest of that openness, I thought it was important to highlight this 8-K that Morningstar filed earlier this week.

The separation agreement between Morningstar Associates and Patrick Reinkemeyer is fairly typical as these types of things go: there’s nearly $2 million in severance plus an additional $250K in incentive bonuses. There’s also a consulting agreement where Reinkeymeyer will be available to perform up to 10 hours a month of consulting for which there doesn’t appear to be any additional compensation. That’s actually a bit different since most agreements like this offer severance plus hefty additional consulting fees (see here and here for examples).

What makes this unusual is that Morningstar doesn’t usually do these types of things at all. None of the senior executives have employment agreements and I’m told that most tend to stick around, so there’s no other instances of similar separation agreements that I was able to find.

It’s been over a decade since I’ve had a mothership to report on, so I had to think about this one a bit. Back then, the very idea of writing about a Gannett (GCI) 8K would have resulted in a one-way ticket to Guam (the joke about people who got on the wrong side of Arlington-based execs was “Here today, Guam tomorrow” because the company owned a paper there).

The bottom line is that this isn’t the most significant deal we’ve ever seen in the filings. Far from it. But it was interesting enough that Sonya, Theo and I felt that we couldn’t ignore it either.

Image source: EggNob


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