Morgan Stanley is to sell 15.5% of its 25.4% stake in Great Portland Estates, it was announced this afternoon.

Morgan Stanley is looking to dispose of around 25.3m shares in the West End specialist, which is currently engaged in early merger talks with rival London Merchant Securities.

The placing price will be decided after an accelerated book building period in which Morgan Stanley will identify demand for its stake in Toby Courtauld's company target. The bookbuilding exercise is open to all UK and international institutions and is expected to last less than 48-hours.

If it manages to sell all 25.3m shares at the current market price of 582p a share, it could net up to £147.25m.