Michael Bloomberg prepared to sell namesake firm for presidential run

Billionaire businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – who is weighing a presidential bid in 2020 – is prepared to divest his company in pursuit of a return to politics.

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Bloomberg has indicated to employees and executives at his media company that he wants to run, FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino reported on Friday. He is expected to make his decision “imminently.”

Employees at the organization have been raising conflict-of-interest questions throughout recent weeks in regards to what Bloomberg will do with the media company if he does decide to run. Sources told Gasparino there is growing concern among workers that he could either spin it off or shut it down.

During an interview with Iowa Radio in December, Bloomberg said if he runs for president, he would either sell the Bloomberg media company or place it in a blind trust. A blind trust is a financial arrangement by which a person cedes control, but not ownership, of business management to an independent trust to avoid conflicts of interest.

“But I think at my age, if selling it is possible, I would do that,” he said. “At some point, you’re going to die anyway, so you want to do it before then.”

The Bloomberg media company has an estimated valuation of $50 billion and generated $9.6 billion in revenue in fiscal 2017, according to Forbes. As its founder, he owns 88 percent of the company and has a personal net worth estimated around $47 billion.

While discussing the current administration, the billionaire businessman said President Trump’s position on standing up to China is right, but his methods for correcting trade imbalances are not.

“In his view, there’s a winner and a loser in every transaction and I think that’s a very simplistic approach to the world,” he said.

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Bloomberg made his first visit to Iowa at the end of last year, an important primary state.

Bloomberg has said he will decide whether he would run for president by February 2019, according to The Associated Press.

This story was updated on Jan. 25.