Michael Bloomberg’s post-mayoral day-job will be at Bloomberg View

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Michael Bloomberg. ()
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Michael Bloomberg is getting back into the media business.

The outgoing three-term mayor of New York is planning to return to his namesake Bloomberg L.P. in a role that will see him primarily involved in its online opinion offering, Bloomberg View, Capital has learned.

Sources familiar with the matter told Capital that Bloomberg, who founded the company in the early 80s and built it into a financial news and information titan, will both write for Bloomberg View and wrangle bold-faced guest contributors for the site, which launched in 2011 as an opinion supplement to Bloomberg L.P.'s flagship news service.

One of the titles being considered for Bloomberg, sources said, is "chairman of Bloomberg View."

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A spokesperson for Bloomberg Media Group reached by Capital this afternoon declined to comment for this story. Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg L.P.'s head of government relations and communications, did not immediately return a call or an email seeking comment.

The move ends years of speculation about the capacity in which Bloomberg might return to his multi-billion-dollar media empire after leaving political office. He was precluded from drawing a private sector paycheck but allowed to weigh in on major strategic decisions for Bloomberg L.P. in his capacity as majority shareholder.

It also gives a more concrete sense of what Bloomberg's next act will entail beyond the various philanthropic and political efforts he's been funding from Colorado to Brazil to Vietnam.

Bloomberg View is one of the younger initiatives of Bloomberg L.P., which derives the lion's share of its revenues from astronomically-priced subscriptions to data terminals that are indispensable to Wall Street. The privately held company, of which Bloomberg owns approximately 90 percent, also publishes a weekly newsmagazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, which it acquired in 2009, and runs a cable news channel, Bloomberg TV.

Bloomberg View was its first standalone digital media launch and is seen as a pet project for Bloomberg, as well as a leading wedge in the company's digital strategy.

While Bloomberg has for the most part steered clear of Bloomberg L.P.'s futuristic headquarters on Lexington Avenue during his mayorality, he holds meetings regularly in Bloomberg View's offices, which are housed with his philanthropy organization in a six-story Stanford White-designed mansion at 78th Street and Madison Avenue. (Bloomberg purchased the building, a block from his home on East 79th Street, in 2007 for $45 million; there's a Japanese garden on the roof.)

View was headquartered there partly in a gesture toward the traditional firewall between newsgathering and opinion writing. But there are plans to move Bloomberg View back into the mothership, and Bloomberg may set up his desk there, according to a source familiar with the matter. (There are, technically, no private offices at Bloomberg headquarters, and Bloomberg famously sits in a bullpen at City Hall.)

Bloomberg View is still gaining traction following a series of marquee hires like David Shipley, Jonathan Landman, Jeffrey Goldberg and Tim O'Brien, the former New York Times and Huffington Post editor who was named publisher in April. Bloomberg's personal involvement will undoubtedly give it some added firepower.

The move raises questions about what Bloomberg's return will mean for other executives at the company, such as C.E.O. Dan Doctoroff, the former deputy mayor who was recruited to Bloomberg L.P. in 2008.

"The issues is, how hands-on is he gonna be?," said one source. "This suggests he'll be more hands-on than other senior managers might have anticipated."

Bloomberg's post-mayoral plans at Bloomberg L.P. began to take shape back in August, a source said, and Bloomberg is expected to begin working at View in January.

Bloomberg L.P.'s overall media division is in the midst of an organizational transition. Norm Pearlstine just stepped down as chief content officer for the same job at Time Inc. C.E.O. Justin Smith, meanwhile, is still finding his footing since joining the Bloomberg Media Group from Atlantic Media in September, when there was a restructuring of Bloomberg's senior editing ranks.

The company is still trying to rationalize the development of consumer-facing digital products in an organization primarily devoted to enterprise subscription sales.

Front page image: Spencer T. Tucker/nycmayorsoffice

 

Capital New York is launching a subscription news service in early 2014. For more information and to get complimentary access, please contact Lauren Englander at lenglander@capitalnewyork.com.