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Echoing The Riskiest Bank on the Street , Reggie Middleton on the Street's Riskiest Bank - Update and from the Wall Street Journal :

When Richard Rainwater, the renowned Texas investor, sold Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. to Morgan Stanley for $2.78 billion early last year, some Crescent shareholders complained the price was too low.

Now it looks like Morgan Stanley's shareholders are the ones who should have been griping.

 

Morgan Stanley, one of the largest real-estate investors among Wall Street firms, originally planned to put Crescent's office buildings, resorts, housing projects and other properties in one of the real-estate funds it manages for institutions and wealthy individuals. But the firm decided to keep what is now $4.6 billion of assets on its balance sheet instead, exposing Morgan Stanley to potential losses. The company didn't disclose the value of the assets at the time, but the overall deal was valued at $6.5 billion, including the assumption of $3.1 billion of debt.

The reason? Morgan bought Crescent before the credit crunch hit and commercial-real-estate values started to fall. It was also before Morgan was able to launch the fund that it hoped would own the properties. That left Morgan trying to persuade investors to buy into a fund including properties with top-of-the-market prices, something Morgan was unable to do.