- Michael Bloomberg is officially running for president. He announced a 2020 Democratic presidential bid on Sunday.
- The former New York City mayor has a net worth of $54.1 billion, according to Forbes.
- The billionaire philanthropist is the richest person in New York and currently the ninth-richest person in America.
- He cofounded media company Bloomberg LP, a company that now brings in $10 billion in annual revenue.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Though his 12-year run as mayor ended in 2013, the billionaire remains as busy as ever and is spending plenty of money as he goes. After all, he once said he hopes to give away his entire fortune before he dies.
From his early days working on Wall Street to his generous philanthropic donations, here’s how the newest 2020 Democratic presidential candidate made – and spends – his billions.
Billionaire media mogul and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has officially joined the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Business Insider reported on Sunday.
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The announcement comes over eight months after the moderate former Republican said he wouldn’t be running in 2020.
Source: Business Insider
Bloomberg has an estimated net worth of $54.1 billion, according to Forbes, making him the richest person in New York and the ninth-richest person in the US.
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The 77-year-old billionaire cofounded financial information and media company Bloomberg LP in 1981, and he owns 88% of the business, according to Forbes.
Born on Valentine’s Day in 1942, Bloomberg grew up in Medford, Massachusetts, a small city near Boston.
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According to his website, Bloomberg grew up in a middle-class family and was in the Boy Scouts.
After graduating from Johns Hopkins with an electrical engineering degree and earning an MBA from Harvard, Bloomberg went to work on Wall Street.
He landed a job at Salomon Brothers in New York City, where he spent countless hours counting out stocks and bonds in the bank’s vault. His starting salary was $9,000 a year, according to his website.
He eventually worked his way up the ranks and was named partner in 1972.
In 1978, Bloomberg was put in charge of running the firm’s information technology division, which was a clear demotion, according to John Sviokla and Mitch Cohen, authors of “The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value.”
Regardless, Bloomberg stayed at Salomon for three more years until the company merged with commodity trading firm Phibro in 1981 and let Bloomberg go with a severance check to the tune of $10 million.
After leaving Salomon, Bloomberg used part of his severance to start his own business, a financial information technology company now known as Bloomberg LP.
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Originally called Innovative Market Solutions, the company aimed to make it easier for traders to wade through data.
It eventually debuted the Bloomberg terminal (first known as the MarketMaster terminal), and Merrill Lynch was the first customer, purchasing 22 of them and investing $30 million in the company for a 30% stake.
Bloomberg LP became widely successful throughout the ’80s and was worth $2 billion by 1989.
The company branched out into other forms of media, including Bloomberg News and Bloomberg TV.
In 2001, Bloomberg entered the world of politics, running for mayor of New York City as a Republican. He was elected just weeks after the September 11 attacks.
While in office, Bloomberg – already a billionaire – accepted only $1 a year throughout his 12 years in the mayor’s office, rejecting a salary that would have amounted to $2.7 million throughout his tenure, according to The New York Times.
Instead, Bloomberg spent $650,000 of his own personal fortune throughout his time as mayor, including roughly $6 million on private plane travel, according to the Times.
When he wanted to run for a third term as mayor, Bloomberg campaigned to change the law that limited officials to only two terms in office – and won.
When his 12-year run as mayor ended in 2013, Bloomberg spent a stint as a full-time philanthropist.
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By 2015, he stepped back into his role as CEO of Bloomberg LP.
Bloomberg’s long-term partner is Diana Taylor, who was the de facto “first lady of New York” during his tenure as mayor.
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Taylor has an MBA from Dartmouth University and a public health degree from Columbia University.
Her career includes serving as deputy secretary to former New York governor George Pataki, superintendent of banking for the State of New York, managing director at Wolfensohn Fund Management, and vice chair of Solera Capital, a women-owned private equity firm.
The couple met in 2010 at a Citizens Budget Commission luncheon when she was at Wolfensohn, the Times reported.
Bloomberg has two daughters with his ex-wife, Susan Brown.
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Emma Bloomberg, his older daughter, is active in the nonprofit world, having spent more than six years at the Robin Hood Foundation. She’s now the CEO of Murmuration, a nonprofit with the goal of reducing inequality and improve outcomes for children.
Emma, who graduated from Princeton University, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Business School, also sits on the board Bloomberg Family Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation, the KIPP Foundation, New Classrooms, and Leadership for Educational Equity.
Bloomberg’s younger daughter, Georgina Bloomberg, is a professional equestrian and author of young adult novels. Georgina is a New York University graduate and is a self-described animal lover who has reportedly rescued five dogs, a pig, a goat, two mules, and two miniature horses.
The former New York mayor controls an impressive real-estate portfolio. In New York City, he lives in a five-story mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
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At the end of his last term as mayor, the billionaire spent at least $1.7 million renovating the building.
At one point in 2013, Bloomberg owned a whopping 14 properties worldwide, with homes everywhere from New York to London to Bermuda.
Bloomberg bought a $20 million home in the Hamptons in 2011.
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The Southampton estate includes a 22,000-square-foot Georgian mansion with 11 bedrooms and eight bathrooms.
Bloomberg also reportedly owns a waterfront home in Bermuda. While he was mayor, he flew one of his private jets down to the island about twice a month, according to the Times.
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Bloomberg bought and demolished a waterfront house there, replacing it with a $10 million home three times the size, the Times reported.
According to Bermuda’s Royal Gazette, Bloomberg is still a part-time resident as of 2019.
In 2015, Bloomberg dropped $25 million on a London mansion that British novelist George Eliot once called home.
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The seven-bedroom Chelsea townhouse became Bloomberg’s second home in the city, where he had already owned an apartment on Cadogan Square for years.
Bloomberg LP has a massive building in London that serves as its European headquarters.
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The one-million-square-foot building in the center of London, completed in 2017, took about $1.3 billion and almost a decade to build.
The building, which has been called “the world’s most sustainable office,” won the 2018 Stirling prize for architecture.
The company’s New York City headquarters are on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, in a 55-story building informally known as Bloomberg Tower.
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Bloomberg’s 900,000 square feet of office space in the building span 29 floors.
Bloomberg has shelled out millions on expensive toys, including helicopters and a fleet of private planes.
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His purchases include an AgustaWestland AW109SP helicopter that retailed for around $7 million at the time he bought it in 2013.
Bloomberg keeps his fleet at the Morristown Municipal Airport in New Jersey, the Times reported in 2012.
Bloomberg is a well-known philanthropist.
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Alongside fellow billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, Bloomberg has signed the Giving Pledge, vowing to donate at least half of his wealth to charity.
In 2015, he donated $100 million to Cornell University for the construction of a new tech-focused graduate school in New York City.
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The campus on Roosevelt Island opened in September 2017.
Bloomberg has donated at least $3.3 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, in the years since he graduated in 1964.
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His first donation to the school was $5 the year after he graduated, and he has continued to fund the university with gifts.
In 2013, Bloomberg gave his alma mater $350 million, bringing the sum of his donations to the school to $1.1 billion. At the time, it was the largest donation to an American educational institution in history.
And in November 2018, he shattered his own record by giving the school $1.8 billion to go toward undergraduate financial aid and recruitment.
Bloomberg is a strong supporter of gun control and has pledged over $50 million toward a new campaign for stricter gun restrictions.
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In 2006, he cofounded Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan group of mayors advocating for gun legislation reforms that later merged with Moms Demand Action.
In 2014, Bloomberg pledged to spend $50 million to build a grassroots network of voters dedicated to curbing gun violence, which led to the formation of Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control.
In 2017, he promised to match every donation made to the organization.
Before Bloomberg officially announced his presidential bid, many Democrats believed his virtually unlimited campaign cash, loyal staffers, and philanthropic record would make him a formidable candidate, as Business Insider’s Eliza Relman reported.
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With his massive fortune, Bloomberg could outspend much of the Democratic primary field, Rebecca Katz, a progressive strategist and former aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio, told Insider in February. Indeed, Business Insider’s Mary Hanbury reported on Saturday (before the former mayor had even officially announced his candidacy) that Bloomberg spent $30 million on TV ads in a single week – more than all his Democratic rivals spent in an entire year.
But his relatively moderate policy positions and his status as a 77-year-old wealthy white man could hurt him.
“For too long the people at the top of the Democratic Party have been wealthier, whiter, more male, and more conservative than the base of the Democratic Party which looks a lot more like [Rep.] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” Waleed Shahid, communications director for Justice Democrats, told Insider earlier this year.
Bloomberg’s senior aides told the Associated Press that he intends to refuse political donations in his run for president and would not accept the $400,000 presidential salary if he were to win.
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“He has never taken a political contribution in his life,” Bloomberg’s chief adviser Howard Wolfson told the AP. “He is not about to start. He cannot be bought.”