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From internet sources, Michael Bloomberg owns 90% of Bloomberg L.P., which is an insanely high percentage. How did he manage to create such a major company while retaining almost complete ownership?

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A couple of factors:

  • The company grew gradually since 1981 - the perception that you cannot have a successful company without outside investors is most commonly associated with internet startups that aim for much quicker growth.
  • Bloomberg actually took investment from Merrill Lynch for a 30% ownership share in 1983 but bought it back later - much later (1996 and 2008), so the 90% figure was not the case for most of the company's existence.
  • The probably biggest factor: he entered a market (digital financial information services) very early that then proceeded to grow very rapidly. If Wall Street and the financial industry hadn't grown as much, Bloomberg wouldn't have become a major company. And if digital information systems had been an established industry rather than something that technical developments had only recently made possible, his starting captial of $10 million would have been insufficient to break into the market and he'd have had to take on investors.
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