Bloomberg would sell company if elected, campaign says

Mike Bloomberg's company, which could be worth as much as $40 billion, is estimated to employ 20,000 people.
The world headquarters of Bloomberg LP in New York
The world headquarters of Bloomberg L.P. in New York.Daniel Acker / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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By Josh Lederman, Dareh Gregorian and Claire Atkinson

Mike Bloomberg would put his namesake financial information company into a blind trust and then sell it if he is elected president, a campaign official told NBC News on Tuesday.

If Bloomberg wins in November, he would put Bloomberg L.P. put into a blind trust "for the eventual sale," the official said. The campaign isn't committing to a timeline for how long it would take to sell the $10 billion business, which leaves open the possibility that it could take years.

The company has an annual revenue of around $10 billion, according to CNBC, and could be worth as much as $40 billion.

The official said Bloomberg himself would have "no involvement" in the sale because the company would already be in a blind trust.

A senior adviser to the Bloomberg campaign, Tim O'Brien, told CNN earlier Tuesday that "Mike will release his tax returns."

"Mike Bloomberg will also sell Bloomberg L.P.," O'Brien said. "There will be no confusion about any of his financial holdings, blurring the line between public service and personal profiteering. We will be 180 degrees away from where Donald Trump is on these issues because Donald Trump is a walking conflict of interest."

Trump declined to put his company in a blind trust and instead handed over the reins of his namesake organization to a trust run by his two oldest sons. Trump has for years been accused of profiting off his presidency.

"If elected president, Mike will sell the company," Bloomberg campaign national spokeswoman Galia Slayen said.

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Andrew Bates, the rapid response director for former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign, accused Bloomberg of moving the goalposts. He pointed to an interview Bloomberg did in December 2018 with Radio Iowa in which he appeared to say he'd divest from his company if he ran for president.

"If you ran, you wouldn't have to do it right away, but you'd have to start planning to do it. It would take a long time," he said.

"The company, it would either go into a blind trust or I would sell it," he said. "But I think at my age, if selling is possible, I would do that. At some point, you're going to die anyway, so you want to do it before then."

Bates tweeted:"*If he wins* wasn't the promise. ... It was if he *ran.* Why is he breaking his word?"

In November, NBC News reported that Bloomberg L.P. would be run by an expanded management company while Bloomberg was on the campaign trail.

Bloomberg built his company from scratch to supply Wall Street firms with market data in the 1980s. The company, which was started in 1981, is estimated to employ 20,000 people, according to Forbes magazine.

Maura Barrett, Julia Jester and Allan Smith contributed.