Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (and future presidential candidate?) in center.
Photograph by Seth Wenig — AP

Could we see another billionaire enter the presidential race?

By Stephen Gandel
October 6, 2015

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has a bold prediction for the 2016 presidential race: Media billionaire Mike Bloomberg is going to run for president and win.

Ackman said Bloomberg would make a great candidate because, like Trump, he is a straight-talking successful businessman. And while Ackman said people shouldn’t be voting based on billions, if they are, Bloomberg is the clear winner. Forbes estimates Bloomberg’s net worth at $38.8 billion, or nearly 4 times what Trump says he’s worth, and nearly 10 times what Forbes says Trump is worth.

Ackman joked that the cost of running for president is roughly equivalent to the profits Bloomberg’s media company creates in a quarter. Ackman made the comments while speaking at a Bloomberg-sponsored conference held in Bloomberg’s media headquarters in New York. Nonetheless, despite the setting, Ackman said his support for Bloomberg was totally genuine.

What’s more, unlike Trump, Bloomberg has actually held public office before, serving three terms as mayor of New York City.

“Bloomberg has all the qualities that people like about Trump but none of the qualities they don’t,” said Ackman. “If Bloomberg enters the race, I would do everything I can to help him get elected. But he doesn’t need money.”

 

Ackman said Hillary Clinton has proven to be a terrible candidate. And Trump has shown that the country might be willing to vote for a billionaire from New York. The rest of the Republican field is in disarray, Ackman said. That gives Bloomberg an opening.

There’s one large obstacle with Ackman’s presidential prediction: Bloomberg is not actually running for president. But Ackman isn’t alone among powerful businessman in trying to recruit Bloomberg into the race. Rupert Murdoch tweeted in August that it was time for Bloomberg to enter the race. This summer the New York Post reported that a number of prominent New York Democrats dissatisfied with Clinton have tried to recruit Bloomberg for the race. Bloomberg considered a run for president in 2008, but backed off. He has not shown any interest in running in 2016.

But that’s not going to stop Ackman, who had proven determined in the past. Fortune recently profiled Ackman’s long, costly and so far unsuccessful campaign to prove Herbalife is a fraud. (On Herbalife, Ackman said there had been some developments, but nothing he wanted to share.)

“I’m not supporting any other candidate. I’m all in for Mike Bloomberg,” said Ackman.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

You May Like