Last year U2 signed a revolutionary deal with Apple, which saw their album Songs of Innocence given away for free on iTunes in return for $100m worth of marketing support and cash. It met with mixed reactions and Bono (54) ended up half-heartedly apologising for the innovative move. It got worse a few months later when he had a nasty bike accident which may stop him ever playing the guitar again.
The crash has also delayed U2’s next global tour. The last one grossed €586m.
Managed by the impossibly shrewd Paul McGuinness, U2 signed a series of really clever royalty and recording deals, enabling them to keep a large chunk of the proceeds from the sales of 150m albums. Some of the music empire was later moved to Holland to reduce their tax bill.
Their wealth is down because we’ve separated out Paul McGuinness this year.
Outside of U2, Bono is a high-profile investor. He’s a partner in technology venture capital group Elevation, which made a fortune from an early investment in Facebook.
The initial €100m paid for a 1pc stake in 2010 is now worth €1.8bn. Clearly Bono doesn’t own the whole whack and partners are likely to have a combined 10pc stake of the investment which makes it worth €180m.
Bono and the Edge are also investors in cloud-sharing firm Dropbox. The band members’ properties range from Killiney Hill to valuable beach-front castles in Eze and Beaulieu on the Cote D’Azur. Band members also own a stake in Dublin’s Clarence Hotel and were behind plans to develop what would be Dublin’s tallest building in the Docklands. Recently they paid €580,000 for the building on Dublin’s Hanover Quay, where they recorded some of their earlier albums.
Bono will have plenty of money to replace his suitcase, which fell out of a private jet en-route to Germany last November. The band has history with insurance claims, as former manager Paul McGuinness revealed that a record-breaking insurance claim had been filed when the group’s ‘360?’ tour in 2009 was delayed by Bono’s back injury.