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Can someone help me out? How can the expected return from the commercial real estate be "0". At the very least the property must be worth something so they can sell it right? Why did they for example give an entire portfolio of properties to Barclays / RBS for 1 euro?

Original Article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527023036...

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Comments (21)

  • singularity's picture

    First, their fund was $8.8b so it's not a total loss on their capital. Second, do you understand the concept of capital structure at all? If I'm sitting in the equity or mezz, a 20% decrease in value could make my position completely worthless.

    As for why they would just hand it over for an euro, I would imagine because they don't see any scenario in which paying future upkeep costs/renovation/etc. would make it profitable and it's simpler and easier to just get rid of the position.

  • TNA's picture

    Holding onto real estate without paying tenants is pretty costly. Taxes and maintenance must still be paid. If you look at value as whatever the market is willing to pay I suppose you could value properties at zero. With such a saturation, reduction in credit and the current economy having large office space unused is a huge liability.

  • TNA's picture

    One side note, sort of alluded to above, is the specific nature of commercial RE. A lot of places are funded with the assumption that they will re apply for a loan to take out the previous construction loan at a certain point. I don't know enough to really go deep into it, but RE financing is specific with a bunch of nuances.

  • breakinginnew's picture

    i'd assume they took out debt against the properties and now the assets negative equity

  • GutShot's picture

    Got it. I was going through their specific projects, Pegasus which was a $540m investment and Fujisawa which was around the same both have projected returns of 0 which raised an eyebrow... rough times

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  • Edmundo Braverman's picture

    HAH! You beat me to it. I was putting something together about this for tomorrow. Big, big hit. It's looking like the other shoe in commercial real estate is getting ready to fall.

  • In reply to breakinginnew
    mr1234's picture

    breakinginnew:
    i'd assume they took out debt against the properties and now the assets negative equity

    that's probably what happened. i had to underwrite a couple of investments that were debt financed by msref, both SIGNIFICANTLY upside down. so i am assuming that that is the situation that most of their investments are in.

    msref is in UNUSUALLY bad shape, relative to every other cre player. if losing money was an olympic sport, then msref would get a gold medal. their bonuses should be clawed back.

    ---
    man made the money, money never made the man

  • overclass's picture

    why is morgan up over 2% despite this news..

  • mr1234's picture

    on a side note, this may be a harbinger for financial armageddon. losses like this could translate to the commercial banking sector (which btw still refuses to realize tangible losses in cre), then that could feasibly trigger another major financial shit storm. i posted something about this a while back.

    correct me if im wrong.

    ---
    man made the money, money never made the man

  • amande96's picture

    MS exited their position in china real estate market, lost a ton in last couple yrs.
    how hard is that? losing money in the bubble time.

  • TNA's picture

    I don't know, whenever I hear about massive write downs I always think about the next year when they will have a huge gain from these overly pessimistic assumptions.

  • In reply to jhoratio
    ebitda913's picture

    Because they are not losing $5.4Bn...they are losing 20% (? I think the article said 20%) or whatever MS's firm committed amount is. And they are telling their investors this now (their fund investors, or LPs, not stockholders), which means they took the write-down already. Duh.

  • In reply to mr1234
    prospie's picture

    mr1234:
    ,,,could translate to the commercial banking sector (which btw still refuses to realize tangible losses in cre)

    exactly. pretend and extend! kick the can down the road! we'll see how CMBS defaults go over the course of the year

  • noexplode's picture

    Msref VII Global!!!!

    i saw a marketing memo of a manager trying to raise money for a distress/opportunity fund last year, it was funny because they were using previous LPs as track record to raise the next LP. For one of the previous, the initial projected IRR was18%- 20%, but the actual current IRR was ~0%, with ~3 more years of lock up, and a few of the projects wont ever see profit. But somehow they still raised money for the next LP.

    Similar to MSREF, Goldman's Whitehall isn't doing so great either, but I think the losses on these funds have mostly been accounted for; it's pretty clear cut when all the investments are worth 0. The problem is with the commercial lenders that have portfolios of loans that will never be repaid, but still not written down from the balance sheet, and they wont as long as they are not forced to mark to market.

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  • In reply to noexplode
    mr1234's picture

    ---
    man made the money, money never made the man

  • feenans's picture
  • In reply to mr1234
    mr1234's picture

    ---
    man made the money, money never made the man