U2's Bono rakes in $1.4bn from Facebook investment - more than he has ever made in his music career

By @nessdoctor on
U2 lead singer Bono arrives for the recording of the Band Aid 30 charity single in west London November 15, 2014. Singers came together to record a new version of the Band Aid charity song to raise money to combat Ebola in Africa. The single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?", was first recorded 30 years ago after musician and philanthropist Bob Geldof inspired a host of stars to come together under the Band Aid name to help those affected by famine in Ethiopia. Reuters/Neil Hall

U2 frontman Bono has significantly raised his net worth for an investment that is not at all related to music. The 55-year-old rock artist set up a group called Elevation Partners in 2004 to put money into various investments. In 2009, the firm bought shares in Facebook, where they own 2.3 percent. Elevation Partners, which Bono co-founded with six other individuals, reportedly paid around $86 million (AU$121 million) at that time. Today, the stock value is said to be at £1.4 billion (US$2.2 billion/AU$3 billion).

The Independent reports that the profits will be split equally among all partners. The total earnings are said to be worth more than what U2 and Bono had earned from the music industry over the past years. The  other members of Elevation Partners’ Investment Team include Roger McNamee, Bret Pearlman and Fred Anderson. Other companies where Elevation Partners has a share include Forbes, Yelp and MarketShare.

Despite the huge amount, Bono is still not the richest musician alive, contrary to popular reports. PlayBack.fm reports that Bono is the eighth wealthiest music artist with a net worth of $600 million (AU$843 million). Andrew Lloyd Webber is on top of the said list with $1.2 billion (AU$1.7 billion), Paul McCartney, also with $1.2 billion (AU$1.7 billion), and Herb Alpert with $850 million (AU$1.2 million). Madonna follows with an $800 million (AU$1.1 billion) net worth, Dr. Dre with $780 million (AU$1 billion), P. Diddy with $700 million (AU$984 million), and Celine Dion with $630 million ($886 million).

Forbes ' top 100 list of highest paid superstars for 2015 does not even include Bono. This list is led by boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. with $300 million (AU$422 million) in earnings for the year. The highest paid musician on the roster is Katy Perry, who earned $135 million (AU$189 million).

Arguments over Bono's "richest" status aside, a chunk of the latest windfall will likely go into Bono's ethical clothing company EDUN, which has been struggling financially since it was created in 2005, writes the Sydney Morning Herald. In a 2010 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ali Hewson, Bono's wife who co-founded the brand with him, admitted that they had focused too much on the philosophy behind the brand instead of the quality of the clothing products. The firm also faced other issues which led to delivery delays and, eventually, the cancellation of deals with retail outlets. In 2013, EDUN hired a new creative director, Danielle Sherman from Alexander Wang, to help turn things around.

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