At least five companies are said to be scrambling to set up the first commercial mortgage conduit program in Europe, while debate continues over whether such a program will find a receptive audience on the Eastern side of the Atlantic.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, J.P. Morgan, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette are among the firms that Street sources said are now in the process of examining and assembling programs that will purchase commercial mortgages in bulk and regularly securitize them.

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