Asian Art Museum reveals plan to restructure debt

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The Asian Art Museum announced Feb. 17 that a plan to restructure the Asian Art Museum Foundation’s $120 million bond debt had officially been approved.

The implementation will begin immediately.

The Asian Art Museum Foundation is the private fundraising arm of the San Francisco-based Museum, one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art.

The five-party agreement, coordinated by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, City Controller Ben Rosenfield, and City Public Finance Director Nadia Sesay with participation from the Foundation and its creditors, JP Morgan Chase and MBIA, Inc., provides the Foundation with long-term financing.

According to a separate statement the Museum released on Jan. 6, the plan entails the “restructuring of the rate and term of the Foundation’s bonds” and a “reduction in the total loan principal and a return of funds to the Foundation.”

Additionally, the statement said, the Foundation will launch a three-year capital campaign.

The statement further said, “while the Foundation remains primarily responsible for debt and pledges its assets, the City would provide an assurance agreement to replace the current MBIA insurance policy for the debt.”

Moreover, the plan solidifies the relationship between the City and the Foundation to service the Foundation’s debt. Thus, the City Controller’s Office will “review and offer recommendations to the Foundation’s annual budget,” the statement said.

The Asian Art Commission and the Foundation, the Museum’s dual governing boards, approved the plan at their Jan. 25 meeting. This was followed by a unanimous vote in favor by the City of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors at their Feb. 1 meeting.

All of the participating parties signed the final documents detailing the plan’s structure and requirements Feb. 11.

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