Morgan Stanley is ready to let Discover go (pictured), as John Mack & Co are set to free the slightly autistic dove of a unit on July 2nd (Mack has his PR team hard at work trying to come up with better division slashing metaphors than the ones that contributed to his "Mack the Knife" moniker, although this one needs work).
Discover, the card that pays you back instead of simply lowering its rates (which always struck me as a clever incentive perversion - you spend more money on your credit card, which presumably increases the chances of not paying your bill at the end of the month, which means you get gouged by the high rates in place to justify the cash back feature), has been criticized for slowing down the growth of the bank almost since it was acquired in 1997. Investors argue that the capital intensive Discover division lowers the return on equity of the pure securities business, although much of that sentiment is pure Goldman envy.
Details of the independence declaration, from the Chicago Tribune:
Last week, Discover named its board of directors. Dennis Dammerman will serve as non-executive chairman. He retired in 2005 as vice chairman of the board of General Electric Co. after a nearly 40-year career with GE. Morgan Stanley's board set a June 30 distribution date for outstanding shares of Discover common stock to Morgan Stanley stockholders. After the distribution, Discover will be an independent public company trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DFS.
Discover to gain independence July 2 in spinoff [Chicago Tribune]