Some Bloomberg News employees are nervous about layoffs coming, sources told Business Insider, adding to uncertainty created by Michael Bloomberg's possible presidential run.
At least 10 senior journalists have left Bloomberg's overseas bureaus including Paris, London, and Rome. Many of those let go were veteran journalists and presumably highly paid.
Employees were also told to curtail travel for the rest of the year, which was considered unusual for the media company.
It's true that Bloomberg News also has been doubling down on coverage areas including environmental and cybersecurity, according to a memo issued in September. It's also routine for companies to watch expenses near the end of a fiscal year.
But the departures of highly paid people — senior editors can make more than $250,000 a year — and curtailing of travel has ignited speculation that the parent company Bloomberg LP is poised for a slow sales year and that it's prepping for a possible sale. This is new, one insider said.
Bloomberg spokespeople said there haven't been any layoffs and that newsroom headcount would be flat in 2019. They said travel was still permitted but that the company was being mindful of travel expenses as part of routine end-of-year budgeting. They said Bloomberg LP wasn't poised for a slowdown and that it was expecting another year of growth in 2020.
Still, the employee jitters take on more significance now that Bloomberg took steps November 8 to enter the 2020 race for president.
Bloomberg top executives sought to reassure employees that the company would run smoothly if its founder ran for president, according to a memo seen by Business Insider. The message said the company was on track for another year of growth. The memo was first reported by the FT.
The message didn't address whether he would seek to sell the company if he stepped away. In 2018, Bloomberg said he would be likely to sell the company if he ran for president.
Bloomberg LP is driven by its massive, $22,000-per-year terminal subscription business serving Wall Street clients. Its smaller Bloomberg News arm is marketed as a key benefit to terminal subscribers.
Bloomberg News is one of the biggest news organizations, with 2,700 people. Bloomberg LP, with about 20,000 employees all in, hit a $10 billion revenue milestone in 2018.
News coverage is likely to be another area of concern if Bloomberg enters the race. The newsroom has in the past restricted how it reports on its famous founder, creating unease among some of its journalists. The company has not said what its coverage plans will be this time around, Politico reported.