Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is drumming up support for a battle of the billionaires in the 2016 White House race, tweeting "it's time" for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg "to step into the ring."
The surprising call to action follows what had been a flurry of not-so-flattering comments from the News Corp titan about real estate billionaire and GOP presidential contender Donald Trump earlier this summer.
But Murdoch was less sharply critical Sunday night, conceding Trump was "becoming [a] very serious candidate."
Not that Murdoch doesn't chafe against Bloomberg's past public health policies – derided as attempt to turn the city into a "nanny state"
by the Murdoch-owned New York Post.
And Murdoch also made clear his admiration of the fellow billionaire was not akin to a vote for him — "Just a friend I admire," he tweeted.
Murdoch was until recently the CEO of 21st Century Fox, one of the world's foremost media companies, including properties like Fox News and Fox Sports. He recently named his son James CEO and became co-executive chairman of the company.
He is also the executive chairman of News Corp, which owns newspapers like The Wall Street Journal as well as the Post.
According to CNN Money,
Murdoch and Bloomberg have known each other for decades, and the Post supported the former mayor at crucial points in his time in office, including when he revised term limits laws so he could run for a third term.
Bloomberg returned to running his media empire, Bloomberg LP, after he left office.
New York magazine reports
a 2012 election subplot – in which Mitt Romney reportedly
sought Murdoch's support in his failed presidential bid – ended instead with blistering tweets recording Murdoch's displeasure with the then-GOP nominee.
The magazine in June reported
Bloomberg was an unlikely suitor for the White House in 2016.
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