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商业 - 金融

Facebook上市乱象令摩根士丹利声誉扫地

Stephen Gandel 2012年05月25日

围绕Facebook差劲的 IPO有很多抱怨之声。与此同时,美国金融业监管局(FINRA)周二表示,正在调查摩根士丹利和其他投行是否有违规行为。不管最后调查结果如何,摩根士丹利声誉受损已成定局。

    摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)近来麻烦不断,Facebook只是其中的最新一个例子。即便是在Facebaook表现差劲的IPO之前,摩根士丹利的股价就在下跌,如今1个月跌幅已达21%。虽然摩根士丹利最近披露的文件显示,公司已降低了欧洲敞口,但投资者们似乎还在担心如果希腊和意大利的主权债务危机恶化,该公司可能蒙受巨大损失。

    但更大的担忧可能来自穆迪(Moody's)。这家信用评级公司最近警告称,可能将摩根士丹利的信用评级下调3档。虽然业内竞争对手也面临类似的评级下调,但摩根士丹利最终获得的评级可能低于其他公司。摩根士丹利在债券交易方面落后于高盛(Goldman Sachs)和摩根大通(JPMorgan Chase)。这样的评级下调只会让摩根士丹利更难在这一领域展开竞争。

    的确,在金融危机爆发后拯救摩根士丹利于危难之中,高闻功劳很大。他最大的举措是通过收购美邦(Smith Barney)推动该公司深入到零售经纪业务中。这是一项比交易业务更稳定和安全的业务——交易业务在金融危机期间损失了90亿美元。但这也拖累了摩根士丹利。零售经纪业务的复苏往往滞后。目前零售投资者还未重返市场。因此,摩根士丹利的利润回升不如竞争对手。摩根士丹利另一块大业务——并购业务近来也出现了滑坡。

    摩根士丹利唯一表现良好的业务是股票承销,特别是科技股IPO。明星投行家迈克尔•格雷迈斯帮助公司完成了LinkedIn、Zinga、Groupon以及最近的Facebook等知名IPO。据Dealogic的数据,从2010年初开始,摩根士丹利的科技投行团队总共创造了12亿美元的服务费,比紧随其后的摩根大通多了2.5亿美元。问题是随着摩根士丹利的科技承销业务增长,该行其他承销业务并未随之增长,造成公司越来越依赖科技团队来赚取利润。据Dealogic的数据,2010年以来,科技IPO贡献了摩根士丹利全部投行服务费的13%,高于摩根大通、高盛分别的7%和9%。因此,Facebook IPO表现欠佳可能成为持续困扰摩根士丹利的一个问题。

    Facebook股价周二再度下跌8%,收于31美元,已大大低于38美元的IPO发行价。看来在这次IPO中,摩根士丹利至少要担管理不善之则,要么是定的发行价太高,要么是发行股数过多。很多投资者抱怨称,此次IPO他们获得的股票数量远超预期,致使他们在Facebook首日上市时抛售,进而导致了纳斯达克(Nasdaq)交易故障。更糟的是,美国金融业监管局(FINRA)周二表示,正在调查摩根士丹利和其他投行是否有违规行为,因为就在IPO前几天,这些公司的分析师们下调了Facebook的收益预期。马萨诸塞州证券监管部门也表示,将就此事传唤摩根士丹利。摩根士丹利声称,它遵循与所有IPO相同的程序进行Facebook的发售。Facebook拒绝置评。

    Add Facebook to Morgan Stanley's growing list of woes. The company's stock was falling even before last week's bungled IPO, and is now down 21% in the past month. Despite Morgan Stanley's (MS) recent disclosures showing it has lowered its exposure to Europe, investors still seem worried that the company could suffer big losses if the sovereign debt crisis gets worse in Greece and Italy.

    But a bigger concern may be Moody's. The credit rating firm recently warned that it may lower Morgan's credit rating three notches. Rivals face similar downgrades, but Morgan is likely to end up with a lower rating than the others. Morgan has trailed Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) in debt trading. The debt downgrade will only make it harder for the firm to compete in the area.

    Indeed, James Gorman deserves a lot of credit for saving Morgan after the financial crisis. His biggest move was to push the firm more deeply into the retail brokerage business with his acquisition of Smith Barney. That's a much more stable and safe business than say trading, where the firm posted a $9 billion loss during the financial crisis. But it has also weighed down Morgan Stanley. The retail brokerage business tends to lag recoveries. Retail investors haven't come back to the market. So Morgan's profits haven't rebounded as much as rivals. Mergers and acquisitions, another big business for Morgan, have been down recently as well.

    The one business that has been working for Morgan is equity underwriting, in particular tech deals. Star investment banker Michael Grimes has helped the firm land deals heading up the IPOs of LinkedIn, Zinga, Groupon and most recently Facebook (FB). In all, since the beginning of 2010, Morgan Stanley's tech banking team has generated $1.2 billion in fees, according to deal tracking firm Dealogic. That's $250 million more than JPMorgan Chase, its closest competitor in the area. The problem is that as Morgan's tech business has grown, the rest of the bank's underwriting business hasn't followed, making it more and more reliant on its tech team for profits. Since 2010, tech deals have generated 13% of Morgan's overall investment banking fees, according to Dealogic. That compares to 7% at JPMorgan and 9% at Goldman. That's why the poor performance of Facebook's IPO could be a lingering issue for Morgan.

    Facebook's shares fell another 8% on Tuesday to close at $31, and now stand well below their IPO price of $38. At the very least, it looks like Morgan Stanley mismanaged the offering, by either signing off on a price that was too high, or agreeing to sell too many shares in the deal. A number of investors have complained that they got far more shares than they were expecting in the IPO, causing them to dump shares when Facebook's stock debuted early Friday, and possibly leading to the trading problems at the Nasdaq. Worse, FINRA on Tuesday said it's looking into whether Morgan Stanley and other bankers broke rules when the firms' analysts cut their earnings forecasts on Facebook just days before the IPO. Massachusetts security division says it will also subpoena Morgan on the matter. Morgan said it followed the same procedures for the Facebook offering that it follows for all IPOs. Facebook declined to comment.

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