Monday 18 February 2019

Irish rockers U2's vast pot of wealth grew again this year after their Experience + Innocence tour - playing 59 gigs at 30 venues, including four sell-out shows in Dublin - sold 927,000 tickets, grossing €112m.

According to Billboard Boxscore, a database of international touring incomes, since records began in 1990, the band have grossed €1.9bn from live shows. One industry journalist estimated that bands usually make a profit of about 15pc from touring, with the remainder needed to cover substantial costs. Set against that number, this year's tour might have made the band €16m, while they might have banked €285m from their concerts alone since 1990. Their 360 tour from 2009 to 2011 was the highest-grossing tour of all time, grossing €660m, and on which they might have shared a profit of €99m.

Bono (58), The Edge (57), Adam Clayton (58) and Larry Mullen (57) formed U2 when they were at school in Mount Temple in Dublin, releasing their first album Boy in 1980. They attracted controversy 12 years ago when they shifted part of their business to Holland to reduce tax. Aside from music, the band have a diverse and eclectic range of interests and investments including Dublin's Clarence Hotel and other properties in the capital's Docklands and several apartments in Dundrum. Bono also backs a whiskey distillery in Kildare.

The Edge helped guitar-maker Fender market an app, while he and Bono have backed AI food ingredients startup Nuritas and ticket booking startup Coras, which sells tickets through Ryanair. Bono is also a co-founder of the Rise social investment fund with private equity giant, TPG. It is said to be raising a second fund, having been established with $2bn.

The band are believed to have lost money on an investment in a group of nine hotels in Belgium in 2017. Bono is a partner in US VC firm Elevation Partners, which made a fortune on a 2.3pc stake in Facebook that it bought in 2009, though it does not seem to have been a very active investor for the past several years.

The four band members own homes beside each other on the French Riviera. Bono owns a mansion in Killiney; Larry Mullen owns one on the other side of Dublin Bay in Howth. The Edge is also involved in a development of eco-homes on a 140-acre plot of land above Malibu in California.

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