So turns out Bono won’t be buying a lifetime supply of shades after all…
The U2 frontman has shot down suggestions that Facebook made him a billionaire last Friday after its shares were made public on NASDAQ. Speaking to MSNBC, Bono said, “contrary to reports, I am not at this point a billionaire, or going to be richer than any Beatle.”
While Bono’s investment firm, Elevation Partners, did indeed own 2.3% of the social media giant’s shares by buying up back in 2009, it would have had to sold the entirety of its stakes in order to cash in on the previously reported $US1.5 billion dollars; a princely sum that would have put Bono’s fortune ahead of Sir Paul McCartney’s estimated $Us 1 billion value.
Reports confirm that Elevation Partners in fact sold a portion of their total shares, 4.62 million shares in fact, which amounts to 11.5% of their holding in Facebook. The shares for the site went on sale to the public last Friday, going for $US 38 a pop, which brought Elevation Partners a net profit of just $US 160 million. Following owed payments to various clients, there was an estimated $US 31 million leftover, which was then split between company directors – including Bono – who, according to analysts, would have netted $US 10 million at most.
You know… peanuts…
Still, it is a considerable step down from the original speculations. “Those billionaire reports are a joke,” noted Bono “we invest other people’s money – endowments, pension funds.” Unsurprisingly, he also noted the bulk of Elevation Partners’ profits are dedicated to charity donations.
In the same interview with MSNBC, Bono reveals his original interest in Facebook was because it was a “zeitgeist.”
“I got interested in technology because I’m an artist” says the singer, “I’m interested in the forces that shape the world, you know, politics, religion… technology is huge. I wanted to learn about it.” He then went on to praise Facebook as “an amazing team.” Adding, “they really care about [these issues]…. It’s a technology that brings people together, people who are travelling a lot. To keep in touch with their families, with their friends.”
So is the Irishman disappointed he didn’t cash in big on his Facebook shares? “I felt rich when I was 20 years old” jokes Bono, “my wife was paying my bills. You know, just being in a band.”
Humble as ever…