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US billionaire Michael Bloomberg announces possible presidential run

The billionaire former mayor of New York City has said he's considering throwing his hat in the ring. Last month it was reported his advisors had drafted plans for his candidacy.

Michael Bloomberg confirmed on Monday he was

considering running

as an independent candidate, less than a day before the state of New Hampshire gears up to vote in its primary election.

The billionaire media mogul's candidacy would further shake up an already unpredictable presidential race, which has seen once-favored Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton facing a strong challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who's expected to defeat her in New Hampshire.

According to many pundits, Bloomberg would likely draw centrist Democrats attracted to his staunch advocacy for abortion rights and stricter gun laws.

'Looking at all options'

Bloomberg told the Financial Times (FT) newspaper that he was "looking at all options." Last month, the New York Times reported that he had approached his advisors about drafting plans for a potential independent bid costing at least $1 billion.

The 73-year-old former mayor of New York City told FT he found "the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters."

Sanders and Republican candidate Donald Trump, both of whom have run on anti-establishment platforms, said they would relish going face-to-face with Bloomberg.

A Democrat before becoming a Republican in order to run for mayor, Bloomberg has since registered as an independent.

blc/bw (AFP, AP)

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