Bono set for beautiful payday as ‘Forbes’ goes on market

Rock star Bono is in store for a beautiful payday with the sale of financial media giant Forbes in the US.

The business magazine was put up for sale last Friday and is expected to generate at least $400m (€296m) from the sale.

Bono’s Silicon Valley equity fund, Elevation Partners, purchased 45% of Forbes Media LLC, the family owned publisher of Forbes magazine in 2006 for over $240m (equivalent of €178m today).

Fortune magazine in the US is reporting that theElevation Partners–Forbes deal is structured in such a way that if Forbes does sell for $400m, Elevation Partners would receive the majority of the proceeds and get paid first.

Elevation Partners — named after the U2 hit song ‘Elevation’ — had previously written down its investment in Forbes by 75%.

Bono is listed as one of seven managing directors of Elevation Partners — a fund he co-founded in 2004.

Chief executive of Forbes Media, Michael Perlis, told employees in an email last week that the company has hired Deutsche Bank to represent it in the sale and that “we expect interest from numerous suitors”.

Mr Perlis is the first non-family member to run the 96 year old business magazine and, by coincidence, Forbes magazine is running a feature on Bono and Bill Gates on their work in developing countries in its Dec 2 issue

In the feature, Bono says of his music and activism: “I have to balance being an artist, which is my gift, and being this salesperson. In U2, I sell melodies, I sell songs. Here, I try to sell ideas, but I have to believe in them and then I am a pretty good salesman.”

Forbes.com attracts 26m visitors per month with digital ad revenue now surpassing print revenue, with digital ad revenue expected to increase by 25% by the end of the year.

Forbes is only one of four firms that Elevation Partners currently has shares in with the others being Facebook, Yelp, and Market Share.


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