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Monday 11 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Ciucci/Milestone/Empics Entertainment

Bono and the Edge 'could make €400m' from Facebook flotation

The U2 leaders and fellow speculators invested €157m in Facebook two years ago – and their stake could now triple in value.

MARK ZUCKERBERG may be the world’s youngest billionaire thanks to his founding and management of Facebook, but among the others likely to make their fortunes off the world dominating website could be none other than U2 millionaires Bono and the Edge.

The two – real names Paul Hewson and David Evans – are major stakeholders in investment vehicle Elevation Partners (named after the band’s 2002 single and 2001 tour), which in 2009 invested €157m to buy a small stake in the Palo Alto-based social network.

Following Monday’s further investment by Goldman Sachs – which puts the overall value of the company at a whopping $50bn (€37.8bn) – Elevation’s 1.08% stake in the company is now worth, on paper at least, €405m.

The Sun quotes New York-based traders as suggesting, however, that the size of Elevation’s stake was not disclosed when it was purchased, and it is possible that its stake in the company has been diluted by the subsequent investments of others.

Elevation Partners is thought to manage about $1.9bn (€1.44bn) in assets, including a 40% stake in Forbes Media, but had seen Bono named as one of the world’s worst investors by the Wall Street Journal after investing €365m in PDA manufacturer Palm, which the Irish Examiner reports was later sold off to Hewlett Packard for under €1bn.

Elevation also controls a stake in Yelp, a local business reviewing website, but the ownership of the Clarence Hotel by Bono and the Edge is not thought to be included in its stakes.

The collective wealth of U2 and their manager Paul McGuinness has taken a dramatic slide in recent years; their total wealth, which at one point had exceeded €700m, was ranked at just under €500m in last year’s Sunday Times rich list.