He's rumored to be in the market to buy the New York Times.
And now The Guardian's Michael Wolff says he's one of three oligarchs fighting it out for the Financial Times:
The big worry among rich men has been that Marjorie Scardino, the long-time chief of Pearson, was going to try to circumvent the company's retirement policy and stay on in her job – which would have meant that the Financial Times, which she has long refused to sell, would stay out of reach.
But she's decided to accede to the inevitable, and now, by common assumption, the FT, the publication rich men love most, will soon be on the market.
There may be as many as 50 men in the world, including Russian oligarchs, Chinese billionaires and South American kingpins, who could spend a billion bucks – and the FT Group may go for as high as twice that – on something contrary to their economic interests. But Pearson can't just sell to the hoi polloi super rich. It needs a qualified buyer – someone with a legitimate business interest along with mere ego and a desire for influence. And that probably comes down to Michael Bloomberg of Bloomberg LP (he could, also, do this deal personally), David Thomson of Thomson Reuters and Rupert Murdoch of News Corp.
Each of these men, and their companies, have made repeated demonstrations of their interest. Most recently, Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters have been hat in hand to Pearson, while Murdoch's legal troubles, as well as his over-investment in newspapers, have kept him sidelined.
Scardino has continued to hold the line against the sale, but her radical refocusing of the company on the education market is what makes the sale inevitable. Hence, the company's institutional forces, seeing beyond her and her sentimental attachment to the FT, have been keeping channels of communication open, even gently encouraging the conversation with potential FT buyers.
Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters are direct competitors, the leaders in selling financial and other business data, and each one would loathe to see the other get such a major financial brand. Indeed, part of their own shadow negotiation is an implicit assumption that one would get the FT, and the other the Wall Street Journal when Rupert Murdoch departs this veil of tears and his company's love of newspapers ends.
But News Corp's recent decision to split the company into two, one focused on entertainment and the other on newspapers, might mean that the Murdoch papers, including the WSJ, could live on well after him – or at least be ensnared in a more long-term corporate fate. Hence, the competition for the FT has recently become much sharper between Bloomberg and Thomson.
Think about a world where Bloomberg owns the Financial Times, the New York Times, Businessweek and the various Bloomberg News entities, Murdoch owns the Wall Street Journal, the NY Post (if it's still in business), Channel 9 here in NY and FOX News, FOX Business and all the FOX entities.
Two really rich men who own a substantial amount of the "news" business.
No wonder journalists are afraid to anger Bloomberg and so treat him with kid gloves.
He, along with a couple of his oligarch buddies/friends/rivals, soon will own almost all of the "news" business.