Bono: I’m no billionaire
U2 frontman Bono has shouted down reports that the floatation of Facebook on the stock market made him a billionaire on Friday.
His private equity firm Elevation Partners bought a 2.3% share in the social media giant in 2009, which cost them $90m – but was valued at $1.5bn last week.
But he suggests he’s made the relatively small amount of between $4m and $10m, and adds that it would be impossible for him to become more wealthy than ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, who’s topped the rock rich list for years with an estimated worth of £660m ($1.1bn).
Bono tells MSNBC: “Contrary to reports, I’m not a billionaire, or going to be richer than any Beatle. And not just in the sense of money, by the way: the Beatles are untouchable.
“Those billionaire reports are a joke. In Elevation we invest other people’s money in endowments and pension funds. We do get paid, of course.”
Analysts point out that the $1.5bn could only have materialised if Elevation Partners sold all their shares on Friday. In fact they sold 4.62m shares, which amounts to 11.5% of their holding. At $38 per Facebook share the sale brought in a net profit of $160m.
Once the equity firm paid out money it owes to clients there was around $31m left. With seven company directors sharing the split, Bono would have made $4.4m if it was split equally, or up to $10m if he is entitled to a bigger cut than his partners.
The singer has said in the past the Elevation Partners donates the bulk of its profits to charity.