Morgan Stanley makes biggest buy since financial crisis

Morgan Stanley to buy Canadian employee stock manager Solium for $1.1 billion — a 43% premium

Morgan Stanley agreed to buy Solium Capital Inc.in a bid to add younger clients and tech startups to its stock-plan administration business.

Haywood Securities analyst Pardeep Sangha says Morgan Stanley's proposed purchase of Solium Capital (Solium Capital Stock Quote, Chart TSX:SUM) is a fair deal for the latter's shareholders.

Calgary-based Solium provides stock plans for over 3,000 companies, which include Instacart, Levi Strauss, Shopify, Bombardier and Dropbox.

Morgan Stanley already has 320 share scheme clients that collectively manage schemes on behalf of 1.5 million employees, although its focus is on Fortune 500 companies. Solium has a strong business-to-business salesforce, an industry-leading cloud-based service platform and is a leader in private company equity administration, which will complement and strengthen Morgan Stanley's offering.

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Morgan Stanley isn't ruling out acquiring traditional wealth-management firms as well as more financial-technology companies, people familiar with the matter said.

"As we've said, we'd look to pursue more", Andy Saperstein, co-head of wealth management at Morgan Stanley, said in an interview.

Davis Polk & Wardwell and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt are serving as legal advisors to Morgan Stanley in connection with the transaction which is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

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