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Michael Bloomberg Has a Lot to Lose From a Trump Presidency

July 25, 2016, 10:43 AM UTC

Michael Bloomberg’s decision to endorse Hillary Clinton for the presidency very much reflects his belief – first articulated in a Bloomberg View column earlier this year — that Donald Trump “has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign” the former New York mayor can remember, “preying on people’s prejudices and fears.”

A Trump presidency could also hurt global companies, very much including the former New York mayor’s own company, Bloomberg L.P.

Mr. Bloomberg has worried that Trump’s threatening China and Japan with a trade war is “dangerously wrong.” He has agreed with many mainstream economists who believe trade wars could trigger a global recession.

Increased globalization of capital markets and trade has fueled Bloomberg L.P.’s growth. The company is privately held and doesn’t release financial information about itself. But in recent years, more than half its annual revenues of about $9 billion have come from the sale of subscriptions to Bloomberg services outside the U.S. Its 19,000 employees work in more than 190 offices around the world. Its best prospects for continued growth are in China and elsewhere in Asia.

The company now sells about 325,000 subscriptions to the Bloomberg Terminal at more than $22,000 a year. Although increased market volatility might make traders more dependent on Bloomberg’s services in the short term, any contraction in global trade and capital markets would inevitably lower demand for the company’s services over time.

A Clinton presidency is not without risk for the global economy and for Bloomberg L.P. Reacting to pressure from Bernie Sanders and his supporters, Clinton has also signaled that she might abandon her earlier support for some trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Bloomberg can only hope that by endorsing her and speaking on her behalf at this week’s Democratic National Convention, he can play a role in moderating her rhetoric.

(The author is vice-chairman of Time Inc. He was Bloomberg L.P.’s Chief Content Officer 2008-2013.)