Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who joined the Democratic primary race in November 2019, will sell his media behemoth if he is elected US president, his top adviser Tim O’Brien has said to the Associated Press. According to the tycoon’s aide, he is to put his Bloomberg LP into a blind trust, allowing trustees to sell the company, and give the proceeds to Bloomberg Philanthropies, which offers grants to American cities and funds a range of charitable causes.
Bloomberg, who is the chief executive of the media giant now, will introduce only one restriction on this future deal – a private equity company or a foreign buyer will not be allowed to purchase the company. In his comment on the decision, O’Brien brought up the current US president and Bloomberg’s possible rival at the upcoming election, Donald Trump.
“We want to be 180 degrees apart from Donald Trump around financial conflicts of interest. We think it’s one of the biggest stains on the presidency, and Trump’s record is his refusal to disengage himself of his own financial interests. And we want to be very transparent and clean and clear with voters about where Mike is on these things,” he said.
Donald Trump, who marched into the White House from the real estate business, put his assets in a trust, governed by his sons. It prompted criticism against him for failing to disengage from his businesses and continuing to make money from his properties.
Bloomberg kept ownership in his company while he served as New York City mayor from 2002 to 2013 but stepped down as the chief executive while in office and returned to the post afterwards. However, he signalled that he would sell his business if he were elected president in 2018, a year before entering the race in November 2019.
Bloomberg’s plans to sell his company were revealed ahead of his first stage debates with other rivals for the Democratic nomination, set to take place on Wednesday in Las Vegas. The billionaire, who is self-funding his campaign, is climbing in national polls, pumping his campaign with cash for advertising. Recent polls showed that Bloomberg, who has spent more than any other candidate on advertising, with 19 per cent is right behind front-runner Bernie Sanders, who has 31 per cent.
Although he has not participated in debates before, his rivals have repeatedly challenged him during interviews and public appearances. Apart from his mega-budgets on advertising, the mogul’s alleged sexist remarks and his company’s discrimination lawsuits dug up by The Washington Post have brought him under scrutiny.