Bono, singer for the rock band U2, has been appearing and allowing his picture to be taken with board members and staff of some large public pension funds lately, sources say. And sources close to the firm say that Bono's appearances at between 70 and 80 institutional investor roadshows was far from a social call.
Bono has been moonlighting as a partner and member of the investment committee at Menlo Park, Calif., venture capital firm Elevation Partners. Elevation was co-founded by Roger McNamee, who is also a general partner of two other Menlo Park-based private equity firms, Integral Capital Partners and Silver Lake Partners. When not working private equity deals, Mr. McNamee rocks out with his own band, The Flying Other Brothers, whose self-published CD art apes that of vintage band The Flying Burrito Brothers.
Elevation Partners is on the verge of bringing down the curtain on its initial fund, which has a $1.4 billion, near its $1.5 billion target, according sources and documents filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
And during the fundraising roadshow, institutional investors wanted to know what role Bono would play at the firm and how much time he would spend there. As a member of a successful rock band, Bono acts as chief executive officer, protecting the U2 brand, sources say. Lodged in the "bloodstream of the industry," Bono has said he is in a choice spot to pick out investment opportunities in the entertainment industry: movies and videos, as well as the music business, sources say.
Meanwhile, Mr. McNamee — who acknowledges on his band's website that he "can't fingerpick worth a damn" — and the Flying Other Brothers will be appearing at various Northern California venues. There's no word on what pension plan board meeting Bono will be showing up at next.