Bloomberg has moved to reassure staff that the financial information company’s operations will not be disrupted if its billionaire founder Michael Bloomberg seeks the Democratic nomination to run for US president.
In a message sent the day after Mr Bloomberg’s colleagues confirmed he was considering re-entering a race he abandoned in March, the company’s top six executives reminded employees that “we kept the business moving forward” during his 12 years as mayor of New York City.
“If Mike steps away again, we have an expanded management committee well equipped to continue running the day-to-day operations of the company,” they said.
The message stopped short, however, of explaining whether Mr Bloomberg would look to sell the private company that made him the world’s ninth-richest man, with a fortune estimated by Forbes at $51.5bn.
The 77-year-old, who owns 88 per cent of Bloomberg, told an Iowa radio station in December last year that in the event of him becoming president, “it 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.”
Mr Bloomberg, who has revealed little about succession plans for the company, added: “At some point, you’re going to die anyway, so you want to do it before then.”
Bankers and media industry executives said the list of potential buyers would be very short for a company of its size.
The company bought back a 20 per cent stake held by Merrill Lynch in 2008 for $4.5bn, valuing Bloomberg at $22.5bn. Since then its revenues have grown from $6.1bn to about $10bn, implying a $40bn valuation is within reach.
Bloomberg does not disclose profit figures but the London Stock Exchange this year agreed a $27bn bid for smaller financial data rival Refinitiv, which had revenues last year of $6.3bn.
“Markets are at all-time highs so it’s a great time to sell,” one banker said. “The challenge . . . is that there’s probably no buyer.”
A $40bn deal would be a stretch for any exchange operator, sovereign wealth funds could pose conflicts of interest for an incoming US president, selling to a consortium of Wall Street banks would be complicated and politically fraught and Mr Bloomberg has long resisted an initial public offering, other advisers and industry executives added.
In their message to staff, Bloomberg’s top executives said the company was “well on track” for its 38th consecutive year of growth.
They said nothing about who would lead the company in the event of a Bloomberg presidency but those signing the message included Peter Grauer, Bloomberg’s longtime chairman; Patti Harris, chief executive of Bloomberg Philanthropies; Jean-Paul Zammitt, who runs the terminal business; and Tom Secunda, a Bloomberg co-founder and minority investor.
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