Morgan Stanley still intends to acquire Smith Barney, CEO confirms

9 November 2010

Morgan Stanley is still intending to acquire a larger stake in joint venture Smith Barney from partner Citigroup, the bank's chief executive officer (CEO) has confirmed.

James Gorman made the comments during the annual meeting of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

His statement follows a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, which claimed that Morgan Stanley was considering delaying the acquisition due to the increased capital requirements it faces following the implementation of the Basel III regulations.

The bank currently owns a 51 per cent share in the venture and has options to acquire shares owned by Citigroup from 2012.

Mr Gorman, who was quoted by Bloomberg, said: “The deal was structured to purchase the remaining pieces at fair market value in what’s called an open-ended option.

“We deliberately negotiated that option so that whatever our capital structure might be, whatever we thought fair market value was at that point, and wherever the integration was, we would be more aggressive or less aggressive in pushing the full acquisition.”

Morgan Stanley’s first option as part of the deal is to acquire 14 per cent of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney shares in May 2012.

By Jim Ottewill

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