Bloomberg says he would sell company or put assets in blind trust if elected

MONTGOMERY, Ala. --  Democratic presidential candidate and multibillionaire business and media mogul Mike Bloomberg pledged Monday to divest from his company – or sell it off – if he wins the White House.

“I will put the company in line trust or sell it off right away,” Bloomberg said Monday while answering a question from Fox News following a campaign event in Alabama. “It would be absolutely wrong for me to have that company while I'm president and that will not be the case. Unequivocally.”

The Bloomberg media company has an estimated valuation of $50 billion and generated $9.6 billion in revenue in fiscal 2017, according to Forbes. As its founder, he owns 88 percent of the company and has a personal net worth estimated around $47 billion.

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The 77-year-old Bloomberg – a former three-term New York City mayor – first flirted with a 2020 White House run late last year.

During an interview with Radio Iowa a year ago, Bloomberg said if he ran for president, he would either sell the Bloomberg media company or place it in a blind trust. A blind trust is a financial arrangement by which a person cedes control, but not ownership, of business management to an independent trust to avoid conflicts of interest.

“But I think at my age, if selling it is possible, I would do that,” he said at the time. “At some point, you’re going to die anyway, so you want to do it before then.”

In March, with former Vice President Joe Biden gearing up for a presidential run, Bloomberg decided against launching a campaign because he felt he and the former vice president would split the center-left Democratic vote.

But late last month -- with Biden battling other top-tier contenders Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as well as South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg -- Bloomberg jumped into the race. He said that he was concerned none of the current candidates could defeat President Trump in next year's election.

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Days before he took office in January 2017, then President-elect Donald Trump mounted a stage in New York surrounded by a team of attorneys and stacks of manila envelopes and vowed to keep his many businesses separate from his presidency. But the Trumps have faced criticism in the ensuing three years that he failed to live up to his promise. And he’s facing multiple probes by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives into whether his family-owned businesses are profiting from his presidency.

Democratic presidential candidate and former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg holds a campaign event in Montgomery, Alabama on Dec. 30, 2019. (Fox News).

Democratic presidential candidate and former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg holds a campaign event in Montgomery, Alabama on Dec. 30, 2019. (Fox News).

Bloomberg was in Montgomery to roll out a maternal-health policy after meeting behind closed doors with experts in the field. In his remarks, Bloomberg criticized his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination for not coming down to the south to talk about issues like maternal health.

“One candidate, the president, is making the crisis worse. But even my fellow Democrats are not spending time here or in places like Jackson, Miss., where I have been spending time across the south,” Bloomberg said.

Due to his late entry into the 2020 race, Bloomberg’s skipping the early primary and caucus voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina and instead is concentrating on the delegate-rich states that hold contests on Super Tuesday and beyond. Alabama holds its primary on Super Tuesday.

Bloomberg’s already spent more than $100 million of his own money to run campaign ads.

FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino and Brittany De Lea contributed to this story