Bono’s punt just the job

WHEN Bono and the rest of U2 were starting out in a band that may have ended as quickly as it started, it is unlikely that investing in trendy media and technology companies was on the radar for them.

Cut to today, and the U2 frontman is one of the highest profile investors in tech. His investment firm Elevation Partners may have a mixed track record – phone maker Palm and Forbes Media had notable issues – but it redeemed itself spectacularly with its punt on Facebook.

The company cashed out shares worth $275m (€210m) when Facebook went public and has retained a stake worth hundreds of millions.

When Bono and The Edge invested in Dropbox it was a nice story in itself, but it’s a lot more serious now that the company has decided to set up shop here, creating 40 jobs in the process. The firm was quick to highlight Bono and The Edge’s efforts to persuade it to come here.

Bono gets a lot of stick for being “more than a rock star”, but in this case at least we should be thankful for his efforts.

The Government and IDA work hard to get investment here, but sometimes it helps to have one of the biggest names in the world fighting your corner as well.

Copyright 2012 U2 France /

Bono’s firm loses €513m as Facebook shares fall further

Bono in Ibiza, on August 12th, 2012 – Photo:

By Clodagh Sheehy

A COMPANY backed by U2 singer Bono has lost over €513m as shares in the Facebook social network continue on their downward spiral.

Elevation Partners, the fund that includes Bono on its list of investors, has dropped from €1.09bn to €578m since the Facebook flotation just three months ago.

Read on

Copyright 2012 U2 France /

U2’s Bono: ‘We’ve had our best studio sessions since 1979’ – News

But singer says band have to do ‘something very special’ on next album…


U2’s Bono has claimed that the band’s recent recording sessions have been their best “since 1979”.

Speaking on Irish TV programme The Late Late Show, the frontman insisted that he and his bandmates had been enjoying a productive streak in the studio, but also said that they were aware they needed to produce “something very special” on their next LP.

Previously, the singer admitted that U2’s last album, 2009’s ‘No Line On The Horizon’, hadn’t contained as many hit singles as their previous efforts and said that they needed to write some big-selling tunes in order to survive.

Bono, who claimed there was “no sense of entitlement” amongst the band, said:

We’ve had the best three weeks in the studio since 1979.

Last month, Bono rubbished reports which stated he was to become the richest musician in the world, overtaking Paul McCartney.

It was thought that when Facebook was floated on the stock exchange its early investors would earn huge amounts of money, including the U2 singer, who owns 2.3 per cent of the shares in the social media site through his private equity firm, Elevation Partners, which they bought for $90 million (£57 million) in 2009.

However, Bono has denied that his share is now worth over $1.5 billion (£940 million), putting him well above Paul McCartney in the financial stakes, who is currently the world’s richest rock star with a fortune of £665 million. Speaking to MSNBC, Bono said: “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.”

© IPC MEDIA 1996-2011, All rights reserved

Bono Denies Billionaire Status; Talks About Ending Hunger

U2′s Bono claims he felt rich when he was 20 and Ali was paying his bills. In this interview from the newswires, he downplays Facebook chatter and chats about ending hunger. 
ANDREA MITCHELL, HOST:  Here at the Global Food Summit, President Obama has issued a call to action for world leaders to attack poverty in Africa by expanding agriculture.  The immediate goal is to lift 15 million people out of poverty over the next decade.  Participating in this big launch for the G-8 Summit, some big players.  Singer/songwriter, co-founder of the One Campaign, Bono.
                You’ve spoken here to the summit.
                What is the mission and the cause and — and why is it so urgent?
                BONO:  Well, the mission is, I guess, obvious, to…
                MITCHELL:  Right.
                BONO:  – you know, no one wants to see those extended bellies.  No one wants to see children — emaciated children.  Hunger is a ridiculous thing.  And we know what to do in order to fix it.  There’s, you know, these whole new approaches to agriculture to increase productivity, etc.  Etc.
                But what’s key about today’s announcement is that the president of the United States is supporting African ideas on how to fix their problem.  There are country-owned, country-devised plans in 30 African countries.  And that’s what it will take to get to that 50 million people taken out of — out of hunger over the next decade.
                So it’s — that’s what’s different.  It’s partnership, it’s not the old paternalism.  These are sort of horizontal relationships, not vertical ones.
                MITCHELL:  And these countries have spent the last couple of years, 30 countries, submitting their plans.  And now this is the time for action, for business leaders, for others, to — to join in and invest.
                You wrote in “Time” magazine this week that Africa is so rich in resources, that this is really the — the continent which can be like the American continent was in the last century.
Tell us what…
                BONO:  Yes, it’s…
                MITCHELL:  – the potential there.
                BONO:  – we’ve — we’ve got to, you know, we’ve just got to reboot our thinking on the continent.  Africa is — this — the 21st century, people say it’s about China.  Ask the Chinese.  They’re all over Africa.
                MITCHELL:  Exactly.
                BONO:  Africa, by 2050, will double the population of China.  So you’ve got this — there — there will be more young people on the continent of Africa than there are Chinese in 2050.  I mean it is just stunning.  They’re rich.  They’ve got all these minerals on the ground.  And the people are saying to us, the African people, they don’t want aid as an ongoing basis.  They need it now to help them get to a place of independence.
                But they’re future consumers for the United States.  The president is talking business.  This is good.  It — it’s just — it’s a whole new kind of development paradigm, I think, today.  It’s — the old sort of donor-recipient relationship, it’s over.
                MITCHELL:  And I mean the Chinese, as you point out, they get it.  They’re investing everywhere in Africa.  These businesses want to invest.
                What do we do about the — the fact that there has been so much widespread corruption and how can that be tackled?
                The World Bank has tried to tackle it.
                BONO:  Absolutely.
                MITCHELL:  There are some demands here up front.
                BONO:  Exactly right.  Corruption is killing more kids than any dis — killer — of the killer diseases, AIDS or malaria.
                So if you look at food as a resource that comes out of the ground, the same way, if you look at oil, gas, the great mineral wealth of the continent of Africa, what can you do to make sure that the wealth that’s in the ground, under the feet of the people who live there, gets into the hands of the people who live there?
                Well, there’s one way, transparency, daylight, which is to say, when private contracts are put out — given to a — to explore for oil or for gas, that the people know how much was paid for that contract.
                So in this, in this — this Congress is a bill in the finance reform bill, the huge big Dodd-Frank bill, there’s a Cardin-Lugar Amendment what — which actually makes it law that any company published on the United States Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, has to publish what it pays for those mining rights.
                This is huge.  This is bigger than anything you can imagine.
                Who’s telling us that?
                Africans are telling us that.  This is what they’re saying.  They’re saying just bring some daylight, bring some transparency and we won’t be as dependent on you.
                MITCHELL:  And, you know, this is such a novel idea, the Europeans, some of them, are pushing back against this, saying whoa, you know, we don’t have these same rules, we don’t want these rules for our companies.
                But this would really tell the people in Africa exactly what money is being transferred and what — what their resources are going for.
                BONO:  That’s it.  So then they can ask — they can hold their own governments to account.
                Now, the British are — are looking at this.  There’s some discussion about whether it should be project by project or country by country.  It has to be project by project, I think.  We’re meeting with David Cameron later.  I — I’m — I am hopeful to — to convince him and to do that.
The French are there on this.  I spoke with the Germans, with Chancellor Merkel’s people, not with her yet.  But I have before on this subject.  And she is leaning in — in this direction.  That’s huge.  The German leadership will be great.
                I’ve actually spoken to 12 of the G-20 heads of state on this matter.  So Brazil is — is looking to lead in this.  And Australia is.
                And this is the way of the future.  Daylight is the way of the future.  The direction of information technology, guess what, it’s information.  People want information about the big decisions that affect their lives.
                MITCHELL:  Now, speaking of information technology, you have been so innovative.  You’ve been on the — the cutting edge of this.  Back in 2009, I think, you were first investing in Facebook.  It’s gone public.  You are reportedly going to con — you know, conceivably have this huge payout.
                Tell me about Facebook, what you see in it, what the business model is and what you think it’s going to accrue to your own investment.
                BONO:  Well, contrary to reports, in bus — I am not a — this boy is not a billionaire.  And — or going to be richer than any Beatle.  And not just in the sense of money, by the way.  The Beatles are untouchable.  That’s just a joke.
                MITCHELL:  I — I get it.
                BONO:  We — you know, in Elevation, we invest other people’s money — endowments, pension funds.  We do get paid and — and that is a — a good thing.  We will get, you know, I’m blessed.
                But, you know, I felt rich when I was 20 years old and my wife was — was paying my bills, you know, just being in a band.  I’ve always felt like this, I mean being — being so blessed.
                I got interested in technology because I’m an artist.  I’m interested in the forces that shape the world, you know, politics, religion, the stuff we’ve been talking about today.
Technology is huge.  I wanted to learn about it.
                And people say it’s, oh, you’re a musician, what are you doing on this?
                But I think it’s odd that — that artists are not more interested in the world around them.  The zeitgeist, I’m always chasing that.
                MITCHELL:  What do you see in Facebook?
                What is it about Facebook that you think, to those who say, well, what is the business model here, what do you think is the future of Facebook?
                BONO:  Well, they’re — they’re an amazing team.  They’re a brilliant team.  And they really care about this stuff.  And — and, you know, it’s — it’s a technology that brings people together, people who are traveling a lot, to keep in touch with their families, with their friends.
                And — and you see it, the role it’s played in — in — in North Africa, in the — in the so-called Arab Spring.
                So it’s a whole — it’s — it’s the village square.  But it was the leadership of it that got me excited to going back.
                And — but there’s other companies out there.  Yelp I invested in, Drop Box.  There’s — there’s just a — there’s just — there’s a lot of excitement in America.  This is — in this area.
                MITCHELL:  What do you say to people, Wall Street and others, who say there is no real business model here, that people might go to Google and, you know, really look at the ads, but not on Facebook, that social networking is a different kind of — of zeitgeist and that you don’t really want advertising?
                BONO:  That’s an intelligent criticism.  I’m not even going to try to answer it.  I’ll let Facebook do that.
                You know, I’m, in a ways, the — the thing that I bring to elevation is I’m curious about people.  You know, I asked Warren Buffet what was the most important thing in investing.  He said judgment of character.
And — and there’s some pattern recognition and some sensing of what the future might look like. But I think — I think Facebook has gone — is only beginning.  That’s my own view.

Bono shrugs off Facebook billionaire claims – News

U2 frontman Bono has laughed off claims he will become a billionaire on the back of the Facebook flotation that netted co-creator Mark Zuckerberg more than a billion US dollars.

RTE News

U2 frontman Bono has laughed off claims he will become a billionaire on the back of the Facebook flotation that netted co-creator Mark Zuckerberg more than a billion US dollars.

The rock star’s investment group Elevation put money into the social networking site, taking 2.3% of the company in late 2009.

But while the flotation means Elevation is worth way in excess of £1bn, Bono is joined by nine other directors who stand to profit.

He said: “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.”

There had been suggestions that the canny investment could make his wealth outstrip that of Sir Paul McCartney, said to be valued at £665m.

Yesterday’s initial public offering of Facebook shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market was one of the biggest ever US stock market flotations.

But despite the hype, shares in the company closed up just $0.23 cents on their first day of trading after being priced at $38 each.

It made the site worth about $105bn – more than, McDonalds, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco.

By the end of the day, more than 500 million shares had changed hands.

Nick Einhorn, an analyst with IPO advisory firm Renaissance Capital, said: “It wasn’t quite as exciting as it could have been but I don’t think we should view it as a failure.”

The IPO did not help the US markets, with the Europe debt crisis weighing on investors.

The Dow Jones lost 73 points, which means it has ended lower on 12 of the last 13 days, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Nasdaq were both down as well.

Mr Zuckerberg, who sold about 30 million shares, will retain a large stake in the company, making him worth an estimated $19.1bn US dollars – the 23rd richest person in the world at the age of 28.

He said: “Right now this all seems like a big deal. Going public is an important milestone in our history.

“But here’s the thing – our mission isn’t to be a public company. Our mission is to make the world more open and connected.”

One thousand millionaires were expected to be created by the flotation, including a small number of the 400 Dublin-based staff and the sale of 421 million Facebook shares is thought to have netted up to $18.4bn for the company.

James Hughes, chief market analyst at Alpari UK, said: “The real value of Facebook is not likely to be known until the hype of the IPO has died away and investors have been able to digest how the company is going to evolve to be the money making machine many expect it to be.”

Before the IPO, many said they believed the stock was overvalued.

In a recent Bloomberg survey of 1,250 global investors, analysts and traders, 79% said Facebook’s valuation was not justified and only 7% deemed the valuation fair.

The company’s laid-back management style that sees Zuckerberg wear his trademark hoodie and sandals may also have to change now the company is accountable to shareholders.

Facebook is the latest in a series of online firms to sell shares to the public in recent months, following online voucher firm Groupon in November and online games maker Zynga in December.

© RTÉ 2012-RTÉ Commercial Enterprises Ltd