Bloomberg (22603)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has reportedly told advisers to work on plans for an independent campaign for president.

The New York Times, citing people briefed on his deliberations, reported Saturday morning that the 73-year-old Bloomberg has indicated to friends and allies that he would be willing to spend $1 billion of his own money on a White House bid.

Bloomberg would seriously consider entering the race by March if it appeared Donald Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz would face Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the general election, a source close to the former mayor has previously told CNN.

Last month, the media mogul commissioned a poll to see how he would fare as a third-party candidate against Trump and Hillary Clinton, the respective Republican and Democratic presidential front-runners, the source close to the former mayor told CNN. But the source did not discuss the poll’s findings.

White House whispers surrounding Bloomberg, a longtime Democrat who switched to the Republican Party to seek the NYC mayoralty in 2001, but who ran for his third term as an independent, are not new, and he remains a nationally recognized political figure.

He launched a research effort into his chances as an independent ahead of the 2008 campaign before ruling out a bid early in the primary fight. He waited until November to endorse President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012, citing climate change in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

And last year, the New York Post reported that New York Democrats approached Bloomberg to gauge his interest in a presidential run.

Lately, he has earned conservatives’ ire with his push for greater gun control, and the National Rifle Association launched an ad campaign over the summer accusing him of using his personal fortune to try and strip people of their individual rights and freedoms.