Bono, U2's lead singer and rocker-in-chief, has a reason to break out in song today: his investment in Facebook could make him one of the richest musicians on the planet, potentially eclipsing Paul McCartney, depending on how the social network's stock performs after its first day of trading Friday.
The musician, however, demurred when asked about how Facebook would affect his net worth. "Contrary to reports, I'm not a billionaire or going to be richer than any Beatle," he told MSNBC during an interview Friday about a food shortage in Africa.
Facebook's stock gained 23 cents and closed at $38.23 Friday, giving the company a $104.6 billion valuation.
Bono's investment in Facebook resulted from his role as a founder of Elevation Partners, a Silicon Valley venture firm that owns 2.3% of the stock, worth more than $1.5 billion, according to the Times' Technology blog. It's unclear how much of Elevation's stake in Facebook can be apportioned to Bono, who struck a humble note in his interview.
"In Elevation, we invest other people's money — endowments, pension funds," he said. "We do get paid, of course. But you know, I felt rich when I was 20 years old and my wife was paying my bills. Just being in a band, I’ve always felt blessed."
We're reminded of Bono's lyrics on "God: Part II" off of Rattle & Hum, released in 1988:
Don't believe in excess
Success is to give
Don't believe in riches
But you should see where I live
-- Alex Pham
Photo: Bono at a 2005 U2 concert in San Diego. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times