Andrew Ross Sorkin
The New York Times
October 13, 2008

In what could set an important precedent, federal officials assured a big Japanese bank that its planned investment in the embattled Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley would be protected, according to people involved in the talks.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

After two days of tense negotiations, Treasury officials urged a hesitant Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group to proceed with its $9 billion investment in Morgan Stanley, which has sought the capital infusion to reassure investors and customers about its stability.

The deal is considered a crucial step in the government’s strategy for revitalizing the financial system by luring outside investment while it considers buying stock in banks directly. The transaction’s failure would deal a blow to that effort and potentially unnerve the financial markets.

The Treasury’s assurances amount to another extraordinary move by the government and could serve as a model for future deals. The tense, weekend talks were so critical to the financial markets that they drew in both the Treasury and the Japanese government.

Mitsubishi and the Japanese government pressed the Treasury Department over the weekend to guarantee that if the United States were to inject money into Morgan Stanley at a later time — a step the Treasury has ruled out for now — the move would not wipe out Mitsubishi’s investment.

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