WASHINGTON (REUTERS, NYTIMES, DPA) - Former New York City mayor and billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg formally announced his candidacy for the United States presidency on Sunday (Nov 24). Here are eight things to know about him.
1. EARLY YEARS
Mr Michael Rubens Bloomberg was born on Valentine's Day in 1942 in Brighton, Massachusetts.
After graduating from Johns Hopkins University with an electrical engineering degree and earning an MBA from Harvard, he went to work on Wall Street for the Salomon Brothers investment bank, where he made millions over a 15-year career.
However, he was fired in 1981 and was given a US$10 million payout which he promptly used to create the Bloomberg data terminal.
"When I was 39, I got laid off. I didn't know what I'd do next. But I had an idea to start a company - so I took a chance," Mr Bloomberg's campaign tweeted on Sunday.
2. CO-FOUNDED BLOOMBERG FINANCIAL INFORMATION AND MEDIA COMPANY
Mr Bloomberg went on to co-found his eponymous company, Bloomberg LP, that sells endless reams of financial information through its unique data terminals which he launched just as the personal computer revolution was getting under way.
The company's terminals are seen as essential for the financial world, while its massive news agency has also become known for its plethora of scoops on central banks, companies and politics.
He still retains substantial shares in the company but has said that he would sell the news organisation or put it under a blind trust if he were to win the presidential election.
3. NEW YORK MAYOR
Mr Bloomberg served as mayor of New York, the largest US city, for three terms, from 2002 to 2013. He took office weeks after the Sept 11 terror attacks.
While in office, The New York Times reported that Mr Bloomberg - already a billionaire - accepted only US$1 a year throughout his tenure.
While he was mayor, he enacted a smoking ban in New York City. He also placed limits on the size of soda and other such beverages, which the courts ruled as unconstitutional.
He came up with a policing policy known as "stop and frisk" which came under fire, amid accusations that it allowed police to discriminate against blacks and Hispanics. A judge ultimately ruled the entire policy was unconstitutional. Last week, he apologised for his long-time support of the policy.
4. A REPUBLICAN, INDEPENDENT AND DEMOCRAT
Mr Bloomberg, who was elected mayor in 2001 as a Republican, repeatedly explored running for president as an independent candidate but eventually concluded that a candidate from outside the two-party system could not win.
After registering as an independent in 2007, during his second term as mayor, Mr Bloomberg again embraced the GOP in 2009 when he persuaded the New York City Council to give him an exception to the city's term-limits law and allow him to seek a third term, which expired in 2013.
Mr Trump's rise to power, however, helped push Mr Bloomberg fully into the Democratic fold.
Mr Bloomberg spoke at the Democratic convention in 2016 to endorse Mrs Hillary Clinton, then formally registered as a Democrat during the 2018 midterm elections and spent more than US$100 million (S$136 million) that year to help Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.
5. EIGHTH-RICHEST MAN IN THE U.S.
Ranked by Forbes as the eighth-richest American with an estimated worth of US$53.4 billion, Mr Bloomberg joins activist Tom Steyer as the second billionaire to enter the Democratic race and will have the advantage of being able to self-finance his campaign and pour millions of dollars into advertising and hiring staff.
6. SECOND-OLDEST DEMOCRAT CANDIDATE
Mr Bloomberg 77, will be the second-oldest candidate among the Democrats in the US presidential race, as the party debates whether it is time for a new generation of leadership.
Mr Bernie Sanders, who took time off from the campaign trail after a heart attack in October, is the oldest at 78, followed by former vice-president Joe Biden, 76, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, 70. US President Donald Trump - a Republican - is 73.
Forbes reported that through his philanthropy arm Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mr Bloomberg has donated an estimated US$8 billion to gun control, climate change and other causes.
He also helped launch Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that strives to reduce the number of gun-related deaths each year.
He has also donated at least US$3.3 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, in the years since he graduated in 1964.
8. MULTI-MILLION-DOLLAR HOMES
Mr Bloomberg has a massive real-estate portfolio, with homes in New York City, Bermuda and London worth millions of dollars.
According to Business Insider Singapore, he lives in a five-story mansion on Manhattan's Upper East Side, and splashed out at least US$1.7 million to renovate the property at the end of his last term as mayor.
Business Insider also reported that he bought a US$25 million London property that British novelist George Eliot had stayed in.
Additionally, he has a US$10 million waterfront home in Bermuda. According to the New York Times, he visited the property about twice a month via private jets while he was mayor.