Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is expected to join the US Presidential race for 2020. The tycoon wished to do so in the 2008 and 2016 elections as an independent candidate, however, things didn’t really go as he would have wanted them to. He has finally decided to take a leap of faith this time, as a Democrat party nominee. Bloomberg served as the 108th mayor of New York City, holding office for three consecutive terms, beginning his first in 2002. Bloomberg L.P. is a financial, software, data, and media company, the CEO of which is Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg L.P. is in a joint venture with Raghav Bahl’s Quintillion Media. This venture, however, is about to be Bloomberg’s third unsuccessful stint in India, as Moneycontrol has exclusively reported that the partnership is all set to collapse. The report quotes highly placed sources stating that Bahl’s inability to secure a television licence despite trying for it since 2016 and allegations of tax evasion and bribery have rattled the Bloomberg LP founder.
Raghav Bahl has meanwhile categorically denied such reports and has stated that many individuals and groups are envious of the success of BloombergQuint. “It seems to be at the behest of vested interests who are apparently resentful of the success of BloombergQuint, which has created a strong footprint in the digital space. We are confident that as soon as our broadcast licence is approved, we shall replicate that success in the broadcast market and go further. Since the content of your mail lacks credence and is motivated by vested interests, we do not wish to state anything further,” Bahl told Moneycontrol.
TFIPOST had in November reported as to how Michael Bloomberg’s chances of making a cut in the 2020 Presidential elections were minimal, especially among the Indian-American community who have no liking whatsoever towards The Quint and the ‘journalism’ it claims to practice. The Quint has never desisted from reporting with an anti-India shade. From branding Kulbhushan Jadhav as a ‘spy’ which dented his case in the ICJ, to linking ‘Holi’ with terrorism, The Quint has done it all.
Moreover, Raghav Bahl also faces charges of tax evasion and bribery. In October last year, the Income Tax Department conducted raids at Bahl’s residence and Quint office in connection with bogus long term capital gains received by various beneficiaries, including Bahl. These events have strongly undermined Raghav Bahl’s image as an honest media baron, especially in the eyes of Michael Bloomberg, who is all set to cut ties with Bahl’s media holding.
Bloomberg L.P was in joint ventures first with Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV and later with the Anil Ambani group, both of which were snapped to finally get into business with Quintillion Media. Bahl had launched Bloomberg Quint with the promise of mirroring its digital success on the electronic and broadcast medium by operating a 24×7 business news channel. However, the license for the same has not been granted to him since 2016. Bahl has not been granted the license by the Indian government due to his application’s lack of clarity on many counts, say sources familiar with the situation.
Moneycontrol has also reported how, out of desperation, Raghav Bahl bought a shell company by the name Horizon Satelite Services (which had a broadcast license) with the aim of changing its name and board of directors and relaunching it as BloombergQuint. This move has reportedly not gone down well with the government.
Incidentally, Moneycontrol is operated by the Network18 Group, a group which Raghav Bahl had founded and operated, making it arguably the largest media network. For them to publish this report in itself gives us an idea about the gravity of the situation.