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EXCLUSIVE: Morgan Stanley Raises Over $2B For New Fund To Take Advantage Of Market Dislocation


Morgan Stanley has pulled in an initial $2.15B of equity for a new fund that it started raising in the middle of the pandemic to snap up cheap real estate. 

The U.S. investment bank held a first close last week for North Haven Real Estate Fund X Global, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The total amount of equity Morgan Stanley has raised isn't specified, but the size of the first closing means the fund is likely to significantly exceed the $2.7B it raised for the fund’s predecessor in 2017. 

North Haven Real Estate X is the latest in Morgan Stanley’s series of funds targeting value-add and opportunistic returns of 12% to more than 15%. Managers in this field are anticipating that significant opportunities will arise in 2021 as the impact of lockdowns around the world starts to feed through to the performance of real estate assets. 

Unlike peers such as Blackstone, Brookfield and Starwood, which manage larger funds, Morgan Stanley typically targets individual assets rather than large platforms, with its deals ranging from $100M to $500M of equity.

Its ninth opportunity fund was invested in a wide range of deals, buying logistics assets in the UK, India and Australia, multifamily in Australia and offices in Romania.

One standout deal for that fund was the purchase of Premier Place, a vacant 230K SF office building in the City of London financial district. Morgan Stanley bought it for £140M a year after the Brexit vote amid uncertainty about the future of office demand in London, redeveloped and leased the building and three years later sold it for £325M, netting a profit of at least £100M.

The ninth fund would appear to have performed well, as investors have quickly backed its follow-up — Morgan Stanley only filed a notice of its intention to raise money for the 10th fund in June last year, meaning it netted the $2.15B for its first in just six months. That makes it one of the largest funds to be raised since the coronavirus pandemic began.

More recent deals that could have been made using equity raised for the 10th fund, include the purchase of 1,900 residential units in Finland, undertaken across multiple transactions. 

Morgan Stanley also bid on the 2M SF Trafford Centre shopping mall in Manchester, England, at the end of last year, which was being sold after the owner went into bankruptcy in June. Bids received for the centre came in lower than the amount of debt secured against it, so it was taken over by junior lender CPPIB.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment.