NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Two-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been approaching top local media executives to determine whether their outlets might endorse an effort to overturn New York City's limits on political terms -- which could then allow him to run for re-election in 2009, The New York Times reported.
Citing people familiar with the conversations, the Times said that Bloomberg had in recent weeks spoken with top media figures including News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman and New York Times Company Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. to solicit their thoughts on the issue.
A spokesman for Bloomberg, who had been widely reported to have considered a presidential run, which he continually denied, declined to comment.
The talks are a sign that Bloomberg is seriously considering mounting a challenge to the city's term-limits law, which would mandate he leave office in January 2010.
That would constitute a sharp reversal for Bloomberg, who in the past has spoken out against reversing New York law, approved by voters in 1993 and which limits City Council members, the mayor and citywide elected officials to two consecutive terms in the same position.
According to the Times, many top business leaders have privately expressed dissatisfaction with the likely contenders to replace the popular Bloomberg, who entered politics to run for mayor after becoming a billionaire as founder of the Bloomberg news service.
He switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in order to increase his chances of winning nomination to run.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Rep. Anthony Weiner and Comptroller William Thompson Jr. are all expected to run for the office.
But Bloomberg is hoping that media leaders and their associated editorial boards will support moves to ease term limits, the Times said.
Murdoch was said to be inclined to lend his support, the Times said, citing a person familiar with Bloomberg's entreaties and who spoke on condition of anonymity, although a spokesman declined to comment. A person described as being close to Zuckerman said he was also open to the idea.
Reporting by Chris Michaud, Editing by Sandra Maler