ING selects M Stanley for possible real estate sale

ING has appointed Morgan Stanley to oversee a possible sale of its real estate management arm, as the Dutch bank reinvents itself after a state bail-out, sources familiar with the matter said yesterday.

The hiring of the US investment bank follows months of speculation on the future of the unit – which has $92bn (£63.9bn) in assets under management – while ING is making heavy cuts to its business at the behest of the European Union.

A spokesman for ING in Amsterdam declined to comment. Morgan Stanley also declined to comment. The bank, which received a state bail-out package in October 2008, in February scrapped plans to integrate the unit into ING Investment Management.

Property market sources suggest the appointment of banker William Connelly to the helm of REIM in March following the sudden retirement of George Jautze suggested a trade sale or break-up of the unit was a serious ambition.