Implications of the Mega-Bank Merger on Museum Sponsorships and Art Collections
UBS, the main sponsor of Art Basel, is on the verge of completing its takeover of Credit Suisse, creating a mega-bank with $5 trillion in assets under management. The acquisition, which follows a government-backed rescue of Credit Suisse, is set to be finalized this week. As part of the deal, UBS will acquire its rival for a discounted price of $3.25bn and assume $5bn of its debt. However, the integration process is expected to be lengthy, with thousands of jobs still at risk.
The takeover has been met with controversy, particularly in Switzerland, where such tumultuous events are seen as uncharacteristic. Amid this upheaval, the future of lucrative sponsorship deals between Credit Suisse and several museums both domestically and internationally is uncertain. Institutions potentially affected include the Kunsthaus Zurich, the Kunstmuseum Basel, Fondation de l’Hermitage in Lausanne, and the National Gallery in London.
UBS has not yet commented on whether it will fulfill the partnerships Credit Suisse has already entered into. However, it has reassured that the acquisition will not affect UBS’s sponsorship of Art Basel. The future of these partnerships and additional support for the arts remains unclear at this stage.
The takeover also raises questions about the fate of Credit Suisse’s art collection, which has been amassing Swiss contemporary art since 1975 and now comprises around 10,000 works. UBS has not commented on any plans to sell off any of Credit Suisse’s art collection. However, it is noted that the purpose of the collection was never to become an investment asset to be sold.