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FORT WORTH-Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. shareholders this morning overwhelmingly approved the 13-year-old public company’s sale to New York City-based Morgan Stanley Real Estate. If past M&A votes are any indicator, the $6.5-billion pass could be sealed as early as Friday.

Of those who voted today at the REIT’s crown jewel, the Crescent at 400 Crescent Court Uptown, 98.7%–representing 73.9% of the outstanding shares–cast ballots in favor of the deal. “We got far more than we needed,” John C. Goff, the Fort Worth-based REIT’s vice chairman and CEO, told GlobeSt.com. As for an exact closing date, he added, “we are shooting for Friday.”

Four shareholders have lawsuits pending in Tarrant County district courts contesting the sale. But even that failed to undermine the outcome of a vote in which Crescent’s founder Richard Rainwater and executive officers control the show. Rainwater controls or owns more than 4.4 million shares and has in excess of 5.5 million partnership units. The executive officers and trust managers own slightly more than eight million shares or 7.8% of the voting block. Goff had no comment on the litigation.

Goff and Dennis H. Alberts, president and COO, forfeited restricted partnership units in recent months as part of the sale to Morgan Stanley. The waivers were valued at $10.3 million. Morgan Stanley has yet to say if any of Crescent’s upper echelon will remain with the company after it goes private.

“We were very careful to have no discussions with Morgan Stanley about who is going to stay,” Goff told GlobeSt.com, adding that those discussions will be held after the deal closes. “Clearly Morgan Stanley values not only the assets but the expertise and infrastructure in the company.” Goff said he suspects Morgan Stanley will retain the Crescent name.

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