Either acquisition would give the 80-year-old billionaire a trophy media property to publicize his political agenda such as addressing climate change, or promoting tighter gun laws, sources said. Bloomberg is a former three-term mayor of New York City who also mounted an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2020, seeking to become the Democratic Party’s nominee.
“A Bloomberg acquisition of the (Post) is not necessarily just a business decision. Mike B is a policy/political person – mayor, presidential candidate — and such an acquisition would provide a tool to affect Washington public policies,” said Eli Noam, professor emeritus at Columbia University’s business school.
A merger with the Journal or Dow Jones would create a financial data and news giant, strengthening the grip of Bloomberg on the industry while drawing scrutiny from antitrust regulators. Bloomberg is the world’s 12th richest person, with an estimated net worth of $76.8 billion, according to Forbes’ calculations.
According to Axios, Bloomberg sees Dow Jones, also the publisher of Barron’s and MarketWatch, as the ideal fit but would buy the Post if Bezos was interested in selling.
A Bloomberg LP spokesman dismissed the report as speculation and said, “there is nothing to comment on.” Dow Jones did not immediately respond to request for comment. Michael Bloomberg and Bezos did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and a spokesman for Rupert Murdoch declined to comment.
It is unclear if Murdoch – who is trying to reunite his News Corp and Fox Corp FOXA.O assets – would be open to considering an offer from Bloomberg, one person said.
Antitrust experts agreed that the merger of Bloomberg and Dow Jones’ business news divisions would drive significant scrutiny from US regulators, especially as the Biden administration has taken a more muscular approach to enforcing antitrust laws.
The companies might be forced to divest business holdings to appease officials concerned about ensuring competition in the business news market, some experts said.
“They will be interested in the alternative choices available to users of financial information services and business journalism … as well as the impact, if any, on the labor market for financial journalists,” said antitrust lawyer Jonathan Rubin.
The Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission declined to comment.
News Corp shares closed 2.8% higher on Friday, outpacing modest gains in the broader market.
Murdoch’s efforts to reunite his media empire nearly a decade after the companies split has met with stern opposition from several shareholders who say a combination would not realise the full value of News Corp.