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Morgan Stanley rides big share sale to top REIT equity underwriter spot in 2019

Morgan Stanley vaulted into the top spot for underwriters of equity real estate investment trusts' stock offerings in 2019 after serving as the sole underwriter on a massive sale of shares of a single-family rental housing REIT by The Blackstone Group Inc.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC was the leading REIT debt underwriter.

Morgan Stanley was the lone book manager on Blackstone's offering of 57.6 million shares of the single-family rental owner Invitation Homes Inc. for gross proceeds of $1.73 billion. The transaction marked Blackstone's exit from its investment in the REIT, which started as a privately held investment platform at the private equity giant. Morgan Stanley's work on the deal catapulted it upward from fourth place in the equity REIT equity underwriter standings as of the 2019 third quarter.

Citigroup Global Markets Inc., the leading equity REIT stock underwriter through the first three quarters of 2019, dropped to third place at year-end.

Other equity REIT stock transactions in the 2019 fourth quarter included a $1.06 billion offering from Medical Properties Trust Inc. and a $937.5 million offering from MGM Growth Properties LLC.

Among equity REIT debt underwriters, J.P. Morgan retained its third-quarter lead at year-end, followed by Morgan Stanley, which made a strong push into second place, and Wells Fargo Securities LLC.

Public debt deals by REITs in the fourth quarter included three offerings by Equinix Inc. for a total of $2.8 billion, and a pair of offerings from casino landlord VICI Properties Inc. for a total of $2.25 billion.

BMO Capital Markets Corp. was the leading underwriter of equity REIT initial public offerings in 2019, with $54.8 million in deal credit across two transactions. The firm served as one of four book managers for the November debut of Alpine Income Property Trust Inc.

Wells Fargo, Bank of America Securities and Morgan Stanley topped the league table for underwriters of preferred equity offerings by equity REITs.

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