Morgan Stanley, one of the two big investment banks left standing in the economic rubble, is exploring a merger with Wachovia or another bank, the Wall Street Journal reports. Morgan Stanley officials have had preliminary talks with the other institutions as they scramble to shore up the company's plunging stock price.
"The smartest people at this firm are focused on solutions," said a Morgan representative. If any deal goes through, it would leave Goldman Sachs as the sole independent investment bank on Wall Street. Goldman also is seeing its stock price decline as so-called short sellers bet on the firms' decline.