Steerpike is back in this week’s magazine. As ever, here is your preview:
How much would you stump up for the Economist? Most of us would draw the line at a fiver, but I’m told that Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York, is drawing the line at £300 million. Bloomberg is busy relocating to London and he’s poised to snap up the Financial Times later this year. But the Pink ’Un comes with a 50 per cent share in the Economist. And the small print conceals a pesky restrictive covenant that prevents the owner from replacing the editor.
This is proving a drag for Bloomberg, who admires the Economist’s boss, John Micklethwait, but who sees little sense in buying a ship if he can’t appoint the captain. Enter minority shareholder Lynn Forester, Lady de Rothschild. She has money to burn and, as a Hillary Clinton fundraiser, an admirable fondness for lost causes. With her help, Pearson’s shareholders may be able to offload the Economist and then sell the FT to Bloomberg.
As for the editor’s throne at the FT, I keep hearing the name of Andrew Ross Sorkin, a 36-year-old New York journalist who wrote the bestseller Too Big To Fail. Given the number of Brits running the Wall St Journal, Bloomberg may be keen on to start some reverse colonisation. The FT’s management certainly seems to expect a new broom from Bloomberg — that’s why they’re said to be discreetly sounding out the chances of a bid from Qatar.