UPDATED 7:02 AM PT — Friday, Dec. 7, 2018
Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg is floating the idea of trading his media empire for a four-year term in the Oval Office. The former New York mayor and owner of Bloomberg L.P. told Radio Iowa this week he would likely sell his company if he was elected president.
“The company would either go into a blind trust or I would sell it, but I think at my age, if selling it is possible, I would do that,” he explained.
Bloomberg said the process of either selling or placing the business into a trust would “take a long time,” although, he hasn’t gone over the logistics yet. Sources close to him said the company would not be up for sale unless he actually became president.
“You got to do it at some point, you’re going to die anyway, so you want to do it before then,” said Bloomberg.
However, finding a buyer could prove difficult. Investment bankers familiar with the company’s finances said Bloomberg could price over $40 billion, and only a few companies are large enough to absorb the cost.
They said the most likely option for the purchase would be through a now- uncommon leveraged buyout similar to Blackstone’s acquisition of Reuters earlier this year. The potential buyout would likely become the largest of its kind in history.
The question remains how Bloomberg reporters would cover their boss if he were to run.
“We’ve always had a policy that we don’t cover ourselves. I happen to believe, in my heart of hearts, you can’t be independent and nobody’s going to believe that you’re independent…and quite honestly, I don’t want the reporters I’m paying to write a bad story about me,” he said.
The businessman added, if a sell didn’t go through, Bloomberg News could refrain from covering politics altogether.