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March 08, 2013

Major Los Angeles Art Museums Mull Blockbuster Merger

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has made an offer to acquire the Museum of Contemporary Art in a bid to steady the latter after years of financial straits and institutional turmoil, the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg report.

Uniting LACMA and MOCA, as the museums are popularly known, "would strengthen both," Los Angeles County Museum CEO Michael Govan said. "LACMA's strong leadership, its history of fundraising, and its support from Los Angeles County and other donors will provide MOCA with the stability it deserves."

The proposal was outlined in a February 24 letter to MOCA from Mr. Govan and LACMA's chairs. The move could bolster LACMA's standing in the modern-art world while stabilizing MOCA, which has been wracked by budget struggles and internal tension.

The Times says the union could face opposition from billionaire arts patron Eli Broad, who rescued MOCA from a fiscal cliff with a $30-million bailout in 2008. Mr. Broad reportedly favors a deal with the University of Southern California, with which MOCA has also had partnership talks. A spokeswoman for the Eli Broad Foundation declined to comment on the MOCA-LACMA plan.