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Morgan Stanley takes crown in 2019 REIT M&A league table

Morgan Stanley ended 2019 as the lead M&A financial adviser to real estate investment trusts, in terms of deal credit.

The firm, which stood atop the ranking at the end of the third quarter, advised on three additional deals in the fourth quarter, bringing its annual deal credit total to $25.52 billion across five deals.

It advised Prologis Inc. in its acquisition of Liberty Property Trust; Carey Watermark Investors 2 Inc. in its merger with Carey Watermark Investors Inc.; and The Blackstone Group Inc. in its purchase of Dream Global REIT. Earlier in the year, Morgan Stanley advised Cousins Properties Inc. in its acquisition of TIER REIT Inc. as well as Industrial Property Trust Inc. in its sale to Prologis.

Three other firms scored deal credit of more than $10 billion, including Bank of America Securities with $19.11 billion in deal credit across three deals; Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC with $13.43 billion in deal credit across two transactions; and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. with $12.92 billion in deal credit, also on two deals.

The equity REIT deal count and credit totals were, on the whole, significantly lower than the 2018 figures.

Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz was the top legal adviser by deal credit, with $14.66 billion at year-end. The firm advised Prologis in its purchase of Liberty Property Trust as well as Cousins in its acquisition of TIER REIT.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP and Hogan Lovells rounded out the top three legal advisers, with deal credit of $12.33 billion and $9.35 billion, respectively.

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