Michael Bloomberg will sell his media and financial data company if he is elected president, an adviser told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
Tim O’Brien, who took a leave from his post at Bloomberg Opinion to serve as senior adviser to the campaign, told the AP that “we want to be 180 degrees apart from Donald Trump around financial conflicts of interest.” Bloomberg would put Bloomberg LP in a blind trust, which would then sell the company, O’Brien said. The proceeds from the sale would go to Bloomberg Philanthropies.
When he was elected president, Trump put his sons in charge of the company but did not divest his holdings. That has raised numerous questions of conflict of interest, particularly when foreign emissaries stay at Trump properties.
Bloomberg’s media and business data empire is privately held, and has estimated annual revenues of $10 billion, according to Forbes. Bloomberg has an estimated net worth of $64 billion, according to Forbes. He’s spent heavily on his presidential campaign. According to Advertising Analytics, Bloomberg has so far spent almost $339 million on traditional media, like TV and radio ads, more than any other presidential campaign. That’s more than the previous record holder, Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, spent in the entire 2012 cycle.
Bloomberg has remained CEO of the company since he launched his presidential bid, but had previously said that he would sell the business or put it in a blind trust if he ran for president. He told Radio Iowa in December, 2018, that “I think at my age, if selling it is possible, I would do that. At some point, you’re going to die anyway, so you want to do it before then.”
A sale of Bloomberg LP would also be an answer to the question of how the editorial side of his media empire would cover a Bloomberg administration. Bloomberg’s news operations have put in place a policy to cover the campaign, but to refrain from investigative stories about Bloomberg or his Democratic rivals.