Morgan Stanley, reeling from the credit crunch, plans to sell half the shares it owns in its indexing and analytics arm, MSCI Inc. 

MSCI said it intends to file for the sale by Morgan Stanley of "approximately half" Morgan's 53 million shares of MSCI. MSCI said the plan "is consistent with Morgan Stanley's previous indication that it might sell a portion of its ownership interest in MSCI and that it may ultimately divest its entire interest in MSCI."

MSCI has about 100 million shares outstanding.

MSCI produces indexes that track stocks, and is best known for its MSCI international stock indexes. It also produces risk and return analytics for use by portfolio managers under its Barra brand. Most of its revenue comes from annual subscriptions, while a growing source is generated from licensing fees charged to other companies that create investing products linked to MSCI's indexes, such as exchange-traded funds.

It went public in November at $18 and closed Tuesday at $33.86. There was no premarket trading.

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