Bloomberg Said To Be Eying Financial Times, New York Times

Monday, 17 Dec 2012 06:16 PM

By Megan Anderle

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As Michael Bloomberg begins the last year of his third and final term as New York City mayor, the 70-year-old shows no sign of slowing down.

Bloomberg, who founded Bloomberg L.P. in the early 1980s, is considering another big splash in the media business by acquiring The Financial Times, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, USA Today reports that the New York Times itself is a Bloomberg acquisition target, but the New York paper has refrained from reporting that.

Bloomberg has remained coy when asked about the TFinancial Times acquisition. While visiting its office in London, an editor asked if he would buy the paper, and his response was, “I buy it every day.”

Editor's Note: 3,981 New Millionaires Were Created Yesterday

“It’s the only paper I’d buy,” he has said to one associate.

“Why should I buy it?” he has asked another.

Bloomberg's caution speaks to the uncertainty of the print newspaper industry as a whole. The New York Times reports that he has spoken openly with friends and aides about the potential benefits and pitfalls of making a costly acquisition in an industry he admires deeply as a reader but sneers at as a businessman.

The ambitious politician and philanthropist is worth $25 billion, making him the 10th richest man in the U.S. If the acquisition happens, it will give Bloomberg another level of influence as he exits the world of politics, helping him further his expansion in an overseas media market and some sort of grip over the nation’s largest city.

Bloomberg owns about 90 percent of Bloomberg L.P., which is blocks away from The Financial Times. Acquiring the Financial Times would also mean acquiring half of The Economist.

Thomson Reuters is also said to be likely to bid on the newspaper, The New York Times reports.

Analysts value The Financial Times Group at about $1.2 billion, within the reach of Bloomberg L.P., which in 2011 had revenue of $7.6 billion, and Thomson Reuters, which posted revenue of $13.8 billion.

The departure of two top executives at Pearson, the owner of The Financial Times, has made the sale of the newspaper seem a possibility.

Editor's Note: 3,981 New Millionaires Were Created Yesterday

So far, plans for the acquisition have not crystallized, The Financial Times maintains.

Charles Goldsmith, a spokesman for Pearson, said in an e-mail to The New York Times that the company “has not initiated any sort of sale process for The Financial Times and has no plans to do so.”

A Bloomberg spokesman declined to comment.

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