Beauty Bailout

The Royal Bank of Scotland is considering selling pieces of its art collection to UK national museums after receiving $73 billion in bailout funds.

"Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, the U.K. bank majority-owned by the government, said it may sell works from its in-house art collection that is worth as much as 15 million pounds ($24 million). The lender, which has received 45.5 billion pounds in state aid in the world’s most expensive bank bailout, is reviewing its collection to determine initially whether UK national museums wish to acquire any of the items. The bank won European Union approval Dec. 14 for a restructuring plan. Under the plan, it has to get rid of 300 branches and insurance divisions over the next four years, spokeswoman Linda Harper said yesterday. ‘We’ll have less buildings, and less of a need for art that we’ve acquired,’ Harper said in a telephone interview. She said the bank was identifying works that national museums and galleries might want, ‘and if there’s a surplus of art, we may look at disposals. No decisions have been taken yet, but we will not sell any pieces of art that are of heritage or of historical importance. The works will be sold when a good price can be fetched for them on the art market.'"

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