Morgan Stanley may have managed to escape the fate of Lehman Bros (and the hush-hush sell-out of Merrill Lynch), atleast till now. But one of the two surviving global investments (the other being Goldman Sachs) has been among the biggest liquidators of its assets in India over the last fortnight.

VCCircle looked at the large volume transactions or the bulk deals data at BSE since September 10, days before Lehman filed for bankruptcy protection and Bank of America announced that it is buying Merrill Lynch. The results show that some of the top US institutional investors have been on a selling spree, their European counterparts are lapping on to some of the stocks.

Among the US majors, Morgan Stanley was the biggest seller having sold large chunks of around 40 firms mostly in the mid cap segment. Some of these listed firms are Aftek, LIC Housing Finance, NDTV, Phoenix Mills, Nagarjuna Fertiliser, PTC India, S Kumar's, Educomp, Voltas, Jindal Saw, Pantaloon Retail and United Spirits.

Bulk deals data shows Morgan Stanley, which is talking to Japan's largest bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial to sell as much 20% equity stake, was much above even Merrill Lynch in bringing down its exposure to Indian stock market. The firm has sold some 7.6% in Hindujas BPO arm HTMT Global Solutions, 3% in Advanta, 2.3% of Asian Electronics, 2.1% DS Kulkarni, 3.3% Ganesh Housing, 2.1% KS Oils, 4% in Lakshmi Overseas to name a few where it sold more than 2% stake over the last two weeks. Morgan Stanely, along with Goldman Sachs, recently announced that it would shed its investment banking business model and convert to a bank holding company structure.

If Morgan Stanley was a big seller in Indian market, in contrast, other US asset managers such as Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Citi were far less active sellers. In fact, Goldman had an equal number of buy and sell bulk deals. Merrill Lynch also bought into few firms such as Phoenix Mills and Diamond Cables. Citigroup also disclosed fewer sell side bulk deals involving Denso India, Ahmednagar Forging, Advanta, 3M and Srei Infrastructure.

Who Is Buying?

Among the most bullish lot who was lapping these shares were European institutions Deutsche Securities, Swiss Finance, Credit Suisse, ABN Amro, ZA Capital besides some private equity firms such as ChrysCap (through an investment arm Warhol).

For instance, Deutsche Sec bought into NDTV, DS Kulkarni, KS Oils, Org Informatics, Paramount Comm, Ruchi Soya, Sujana Tower, Usha Martin, Educomp, Jindal Saw, Pantaloon Retail among others.

ZA Capital bought into CMC, Madras Cement and SRF, while Credit Suisse acquired shares in Voltas and S Kumar's and ABN Amro acquired shares of Gammon which was sold by Merrill Lynch.

ChrysCap bought shares of Ahmednagar Forgings which was sold by Citi. The PE firm has been quite active in the secondary market and for the last few months has been largely operating in the stock market through such open market transactions in picking shares of listed firms.

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