Morgan Stanley Shares Up On Talk of a Discover Sale

    April 4, 2005

Morgan Stanley shares have gone up since its board of directors has approved the sale of its Discover credit card business.

Discover has been estimated to be worth nearly $9.6 billion.

A Bloomberg article says:

A sale would be a rebuke to Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer Philip Purcell, who arrived at the firm through the 1997 merger with Dean Witter Discover & Co. Purcell, 61, has spent the past week fending off criticism after a management shakeup that drove three top executives to quit and prompted calls for his ouster.

“The decision to sell indicates the board is cracking under the outside pressure,” said Richard X. Bove, an analyst at Punk Ziegel & Co. in Pinellas Park Florida who rates Morgan Stanley a buy. “I wonder if it’s a code for accepting offers for other assets as well. Purcell has lost some control of the board.”

According to a Reuters article, the company’s shares were up $1.68 to $58.55 on the New York Stock Exchange, close to their 52-week high of $60.51 reached in mid-February.

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