Morgan Stanley to trim fees, size of $4.7 billion megafund

Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:04am EST
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By Alex Frew McMillan

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Investors have approved a year-long extension of a $4.7 billion property megafund from Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote), a company spokesman told Reuters on Friday.

The spokesman said the investment bank's property asset-management arm had agreed to a "trimming of fees" in the fund, known as Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund (MSREF) VII Global.

Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing had also agreed to reduce the fund's size by $700 million, the spokesman said, adding that since the fund had not yet drawn down all the cash from investors, it had agreed to a reduction in commitments rather than returning cash.

The fund's life was due to end this June, but only 40 percent or about $1.9 billion of the money had been put to work. The fund will now have until June 2013 to invest the rest of what is now $4 billion in committed capital.

Morgan Stanley's property team has said they feel the time is right to strike deals in depressed property markets globally.

The team has sent a letter confirming the extension to investors, who had to vote to approve it. Government of Singapore Investment Corp Pte Ltd GIC.UL has a stake in the fund, along with China Investment Corp CIC.UL, General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

MSREF VII is now less than half the size of its predecessor, MSREF VI, which raised $8.8 billion in 2007. Fundraising for the seventh fund came amid media reports that MSREF VI was facing a loss of as much as $5.4 billion.

One investor told Reuters in Hong Kong that he had lost $20 million out of $25 million invested in the sixth fund.

(Reporting by Alex Frew McMillan; Additional reporting by Stephen Aldred; Editing by Chris Lewis)