1. Elevation Partners (Bono)
Musician, social activist and general partner – Bono has worn all three hats since 2006 when he co-founded private equity firm Elevation Partners, which focuses primarily on building new businesses around intellectual property in the media and entertainment industries. Not an idle participant, many prospective LPs have found themselves face to face with private equity's star attraction.
2.VMG Equity Partners (Cameron Diaz)
When David Baram co-founded consumer products-focused VMG Equity Partners, he brought with him a heavy-hitting roster of celebrity connections from his days as president and chief operating officer of talent agency The Firm where he remains an officer and director. VMG makes use of celebrity pulling power to place its portfolio companies' products with famous faces from Cameron Diaz to Snoop Dogg.
3. Canyon Johnson-Urban Funds (Earvin “Magic” Johnson)
In 1998, retired basketball great Magic Johnson moved into private equity real estate by teaming up with Canyon Capital Realty Advisors.More than 10 years later, the firm has roughly $2 billion in committed capital for revitalising under-served urban markets around the country.
4. Performance Acquisition Corporation (Ashton Kutcher)
Hollywood talent agency William Morris launched a blank cheque company – and tapped private equity veteran Edward Mathias and Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher to help manage it. The agency filed last year to raise $500million in a public offering on the American Stock Exchange. The special purpose acquisition company will pursue businesses in the publishing, entertainment and media industries.
5. RLJ Companies (Michael Jordan)
When the former founder of Black Entertainment Television Robert Johnson isn't working on private equity real estate deals he might be found kicking back with superstars. Aside from the many celebs he has crossed paths with at BET, he is the co-owner of NBA basketball team the Charlotte Bobcats along with rapper Nelly and basketball legend Michael Jordan.
6.The Blackstone Group (FuMingxia)
When Antony Leung, now Blackstone's chairman of Greater China, wed Fu Mingxia back in 2002, it threw China into a frenzy. Olympic diving champion and national darling Mingxia took home her first gold medal in 1992 at the tender age of 13 and went on to win a succession of gold medals in World Championships. She has stayed in the media spotlight ever since.
Popstar Björk has waded into the private equity market to aid her native Iceland which has been decimated by the global economic downturn. Female-oriented private equity firm Audur has named a new fund after the singer, seeded with ISK100 million (€591,000; $823,000), to invest in new ventures and small businesses with the ultimate goal of stimulating Iceland's stricken economy.
8.Admiral Capital Group (David Robinson)
After graduating from the US Naval Academy with a degree in mathematics, earning two championships in the National Basketball Association and running a charitable foundation since his mid-20s, David Robinson has since moved into private equity. The basketball champ in 2007 teamed with Goldman Sachs investment banker Daniel Bassichis to raise $250 million for investment in businesses that benefit the inner city.
9. Rustic Canyon Partners (MC Hammer)
After losing nearly his entire fortune in a high-profile bankruptcy in 1996, rap star MC Hammer has re-emerged as a venture capital-backed entrepreneur. In 2007, he launched Dancejam.com, a social and professional networking site for hip-hop dancers backed, in part, by Los Angeles-based Rustic Canyon Ventures.
10.HRJ Capital (Ronnie Lott and Harris Barton)
HRJ Capital is an alternative investment firm founded by and for professional athletes. The San Francisco-based GP, founded in 1999 by former San Francisco '49ers stars Ronnie Lott and Harris Barton, initially focused on investing in venture funds before expanding into private equity and hedge funds. HRJ launched its first fund dedicated to distressed and turnaround funds last year. At press time, HRJ was reportedly in scrimmage with its bank over an unpaid loan.