S&P Raises Museum of Modern Art’s Debt Rating on Management

Pedestrians outside the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Standard & Poor’s raised its long-term rating for the Museum of Modern Art in New York as it benefited from the fundraising of its trustees.

S&P cited the museum management’s “plan to reduce debt as well as MoMA’s increased financial resources and liquidity.”

MoMA’s rating was raised to AA from AA-. The change reflects “our view of MoMA’s continued strong giving by the board, which we view as instrumental to funding high depreciation and interest charges that are not fully incorporated into the operating budget,” S&P’s credit analyst Bobbi Gajwani wrote in a report.

As of June 30, 2011, the museum’s outstanding debt was $332.9 million, according to MoMA’s annual report. Jerry I. Speyer, co-chief executive officer of Tishman Speyer Properties LP, serves the chairman of MoMA’s board of trustees. Glenn D. Lowry is the director of the museum.

S&P listed the issuing of new debt and declines in fundraising as factors that could put pressure on the rating in the future.

(Katya Kazakina is a reporter for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)

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