Friday, May 18, 2012

Bono, 2012-05-18 - U2 Online, Will Facebook make Bono a billionaire, not quite

Will Facebook make Bono a billionaire, not quite

One thing’s for sure after the IPO float of Facebook, which is underway as I write, Bono will no longer be in music for the money.

Already it’s been widely reported that the U2 front-man shall be technically a billionaire after today’s proceedings are done on Wall Street. But hold on a minute. That’s not quite the case at all. Although all that Bono may earn from any future tours or record releases with U2 is seen as pittance in comparison to the total amount he will potentially make from his investment in Facebook. It still doesn’t mean he’s a billionaire. Let’s take a look at the Facebook IPO floatation for a moment. Say for instance, the share prices in Facebook rise from the fixed price, as many involved in the stock business have predicted they will, and already the indicators are that this process has already kick-started, as share prices in Facebook were reported earlier to be trading in Frankfurt at $70 ahead of market opening. Then the initial value given to the company’s will greatly surpass that of its initial offering and thus so will the initial market value of Bono’s stake in the company.

As it stands, shares are priced at $38, valuing the company at $104bn but they are already trading for much more than that and as the day progresses we shall learn more of the Facebook floatation on NASDAQ and who among its investors enjoyed the biggest windfalls. Apparantly, even in the opening stages of trading Mark Zuckerberg’s father, who was gifted a stake in Facebook has just seen that stake come in at $76 million.

Back to Bono. Elevation Partners, an American private equity firm, that Bono joined in 2004, are putting around 4.62 million shares worth $175.6 million at the $38 opening price on the block for the IPO, according to filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Elevation Partners acquired 2.3% of the company Facebook for $90 Million in 2010 and according to NASDAQ that stake may be worth $1.5 billion when traded.

But wait, don’t think that Bono’s going to ride off into the sunset just yet, as Bono is not the sole beneficiary of whatever monies will be made from the sale of Elevation Partners stake in the Facebook IPO float, it will be split among various investors and partners associated with the group.

Further, it should also be noted that Bono would not be allowed to sell all of his shares at once, and the singer has said that money raised from his investments will largely be directed to his philanthropic work in Africa.

So Bono the billionaire may not be exactly true just yet, the Irish rocker may have quite a few more albums and tickets to sell before that eventually comes to pass. Make no doubt about it Bono will be exceptionally richer after today but then again, he was already that from the start.