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Bloomberg May Still Have His Eye on the Financial Times

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 21: Mayor Michael Bloomberg attends Paul McCartney's & Nancy Shevell's party at The Bowery Hotel on October 21, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
Photo: Rob Kim/2011 Getty Images

Rumors about either Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters buying the Financial Times Group, including the paper and a half interest in The Economist, have been circulating for months, and now three people close to Mayor Bloomberg tell the New York Times that he’s still seriously considering making a bid for the company. The mayor has made no secret of his affection for the Financial Times. He’s frequently spotted carrying the paper, recently visited its London headquarters, and seems unusually well-versed in its circulation figures. (He told the Times at a party last week, “The F.T. sells more papers in the U.S. than The Wall Street Journal does in Europe.”) On the other hand, he seems concerned that it might be an unwise investment. It’s believed that the paper loses money, and Bloomberg has expressed skepticism about the co-ownership agreement with The Economist, which gives the Financial Times Group no input on the magazine’s content. Also complicating Bloomberg’s decision: It’s unclear if the company is actually for sale.

Pearson, the parent company of the Financial Times Group, is losing two top executives in the coming months and both were major proponents of the print businesses. Some experts say the paper could be put on the block early next year, but a spokesman for Pearson says that it “has not initiated any sort of sale process for the Financial Times and has no plans to do so.”

Essentially, every aspect of the deal is still up in the air, including whether Reuters might still be interested in making a bid for the company. Still, it seems likely that speculation will only grow, as tinkering with a respected financial newspaper seems like a fine occupation for a billionaire ex-mayor.

Will Bloomberg Buy the Financial Times?