U2 singer joins new buyout firm

Bono, the singer for rock group U2, will reportedly be a managing director at Silicon Valley ‘venture buyout’ firm Elevation Partners, launched by former Silver Lake Partners co-founder Roger McNamee.

Roger McNamee is now the second-most famous rock star at Elevation Partners, the upstart private equity firm dedicated to media and entertainment investments.

U2 singer Bono is among an all-star cast of partners at the firm, which will seek to raise $1 billion for a debut fund.

Other partners at the Palo Alto, California firm include John Riccitiello, the former president of Electronic Arts, a video game company; Fred Anderson, the former CFO of Apple Computer; and Marc Bodnick, another Silver Lake director.

Bret Pearlman, a senior managing director at The Blackstone Group, several weeks ago told partners there that he was leaving to join Elevation.

McNamee was a co-founder of Silver Lake, a highly successful pioneer of so-called ‘venture buyouts’ – acquisitions of mature technology companies. The firm established its reputation with the 2000 buyout of Seagate Technologies.

McNamee is also the founder of a Bay Area rock band called The Flying Other Brothers, which enjoys a small following and at one point reached No. 95 on Amazon.com’s best-selling CD list.

Ireland's U2, on the other hand, is among the top-selling music acts of all time, with their Grammy-winning album, The Joshua Tree, having sold more than 10 million copies.

Bono is also known for his work as an advocate for issues such as third-world debt relief and AIDS. In 2002, he traveled to Africa on a fact-finding mission with then-US secretary of treasury Paul O’Neill (now a special advisor to Blackstone).

A source said Pearlman was eager to join a firm at which he would be a full partner and where he would be able to pursue a more technology-focused strategy.

Riccitiello helped push Electronic Arts to the top of the videogame market by acquiring licenses for several notable movie franchises, including James Bond, and by establishing a solid connection between Hollywood and videogames. The company’s stock hit an all-time high just days after Riccitiello announced his departure.

In April, Silver Lake announced the final close on its second private equity fund on $3.6 billion (€3 billion).