New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg might have to sell his Bloomberg L.P. news company if he decides to run for president, Fox Business senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino said Friday.
“There is the optics issue,” Gasparino told host Neil Cavuto. “But he might have to get rid of that.
“That is what people are saying internally with Bloomberg,” he continued. “They feel if he does run, he might have to do something existential with them.
“Spin them off or do something else,” Gasparino said.
Bloomberg, 77, the former New York City mayor, has filed paperwork to qualify for presidential primary ballots in three states. He is a former Republican and independent, who formally registered as a Democrat last year.
He is also rolling out plans to spend as much as $20 million on a voter registration drive designed to weaken President Donald Trump’s re-election chances in five battleground states.
One of the world’s richest men, Bloomberg’s net worth is estimated by Forbes to be $53 billion.
Gasparino told Cavuto on Friday that associates said Bloomberg could announce his decision as early as this weekend.
“I think it’s the gut check,” he said. “Does he think he is going to win? And he really does want to run.
“And if he does, if he does do it, he has to [have] something in his head where he thinks he is going to win.”
Gasparino said Bloomberg sees former Vice President Joe Biden “as the guy he will be going against for that moderate vote.”
Regarding his news operation, Bloomberg took a hands-off approach to running his company while he managed New York City from Gracie Mansion from 2002 to 2013 — but he returned after leaving office, eventually becoming more involved in key decision-making.
He co-founded Bloomberg L.P. in 1982, initially providing proprietary financial data to corporate subscribers willing to pay more than $20,000 a year for its terminals.
The company had as many as 325,000 terminal subscribers worldwide as of October 2016.
Bloomberg L.P. now owns Bloomberg Businessweek magazine — and it has global television and other specialty news operations.
The company has as many 2,300 employees, but Business Insider reported earlier this month that workers feared layoffs and other cost-cutting measures should Bloomberg run for president.
Bloomberg representatives said, however, that no layoffs have occurred and that the newsroom’s headcount would be flat this year.
Travel was still permitted, they said, but the company was being mindful of travel expenses as part of routine end-of-year budgeting.
“I think he can keep the terminals,” Gasparino told Cavuto in his report.
“Bloomberg News is very, very powerful and noteworthy when it comes to national and international news,” he added. “This could be an optics issue.
“I don’t think there is issue with the journalists, editors there,” Gasparino added. “I think they will cover it fairly.”