Mike Bloomberg considers buying the Financial Times Group

Mike Bloomberg considers buying the Financial Times Group, which includes partial ownership of The Economist

Mr. Bloomberg has long adored The Economist, and his affinity for the paper, at least as a reader, has deepened lately. Its bisque-colored pages, once rarely seen in the thick stack of newspapers Mr. Bloomberg carries under his arm all day, have become a mainstay. Friends say he favors its generally short, punchy and to-the-point articles, which match his temperament. ...

In a brief interview at a party last week, Mr. Bloomberg sounded like a man who had carefully studied the paper’s business. “The F.T. sells more papers in the U.S. than The Wall Street Journal does in Europe,” he observed.

He eagerly described his method of reading The Financial Times, starting with its left-hand column, and praised its short articles, which begin and end on the front page. “There are no jumps,” he said, using a newspaper term.

He expressed reservations about any deal that would involve owning just half of The Economist. Under the co-ownership agreement, The Financial Times Group has no input into The Economist’s coverage. “You don’t have control. Why would you want that?” Mr. Bloomberg asked. ...

The debate over whether to buy The Financial Times highlights an internal tension within Bloomberg’s giant news operation: Is it intended to be an amenity for those who lease terminals or a robust international media organization whose content reaches millions of readers beyond the financial world?

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