Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg L.P. and former New York City mayor, said his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, would inherit his media and tech empire after he dies and then eventually sell the business.
“At 81 years old, common sense says I should have succession plans,” Bloomberg said during an onstage interview at The New York Times Climate Forward Summit in New York City today (Sept. 21).
Bloomberg L.P. owns a host of eponymous news organizations and Bloomberg Terminal, a financial data service widely used by Wall Street firms. The privately held company generated more than $12 billion in revenue last year, according to data compiled by the research firm Burton-Taylor International Consulting.
Bloomberg said he’s already giving “virtually all of” Bloomberg L.P.’s profits to Bloomberg Philanthropies and the foundation gave away $1.7 billion last year.
“This year it will be a little bit more than that,” he said today. “When I die, the foundation inherits the company. They, because of the tax laws, will have to get rid of it, sell it someplace or other over the first five years.”
The Times previously reported that Bloomberg Philanthropies is likely to sell Bloomberg L.P. or take the company public at some point after the transfer because the foundation will have to meet onerous requirements, including donating 5 percent of Bloomberg L.P.’s market value to charities every year, in order to operate in the long run while maintaining the foundation’s nonprofit status.
Bloomberg boasts a net worth of $96.3 billion, according to Forbes. (He isn’t included in his company’s own billionaires ranking.) How much of Bloomberg’s wealth is tied to Bloomberg L.P is unclear. The entrepreneur has said he owns 88 percent of the company.
Bloomberg could avoid paying taxes by giving his company to a foundation, and the foundation could then sell it tax-free, according to the Times. But Bloomberg L.P.’s profit would still be subject to income tax even if a nonprofit owned it.
In August, Bloomberg named a new CEO and president for Bloomberg L.P. and announced plans to appoint a new board of directors. But he has no plans to retire anytime soon and said he hoped to keep working for at least three to five more years. “I know exactly what I want to do,” he said at today’s event.
Bloomberg has two children with his ex-wife, Susan Brown: Emma, 44, and Georgina, 40.