On Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show Friday, U2 front man Bono dismissed earlier reports that Facebook’s IPO will turn his $90 million investment into $1.5 billion.
According to Bono, that initial investment in Facebook, now trading on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol “FB,” stemmed from his interest in technology.
“Well, contrary to reports, I am not a — this boy is not a billionaire or going to be richer than any Beatle,” Bono said. “Not just in the sense of money, the Beatles are untouchable. That’s just a joke. In innovation, we invest other people’s money in endowments, pension funds. We do get paid, and that is a good thing. We’ll get — you know I’m blessed, but you know, I felt rich when I was 20 years old and my wife was paying my bills. You know, just being in a band, I’ve always felt like this. I mean, being so blessed.”
“I got interested in technology because I’m an artist. I’m interested in the forces that shape the world. You know, politics, religion, the stuff we’ve been talking about today. Technology is huge. I wanted to learn about it. And people say, ‘It’s odd, you’re a musician. Why are you doing all of this?’ I think it’s odd that artists are not more interested in the world around him because I’m always chasing that.”
Mitchell asked Bono about the earning potential for Facebook.
“They’re an amazing team,” he replied. “They’re a brilliant team. And they really care about this stuff. And you know, it’s a technology that brings people together. People who are traveling a lot keep in touch with their families, with their friends. And you see the role it’s played in North Africa in the so-called Arab Spring. So it’s the village square, but it was the leadership of it that got me excited going back. But there’s other companies out there: Yelp, [and] I invested in Dropbox. There’s a lot of excitement in America in this area.”
Bono didn’t have an answer for some of the criticisms aimed at Facebook about whether or not it can be profitable.
“That’s some intelligent criticism,” he added. “I’m not even going to try to answer it. I’ll let Facebook do that. You know, I’m in a way the thing that I bring to elevation is I’m curious about people. You know, I asked Warren Buffett what was the most important thing in investing. He said ‘judgment of character.’ And there’s some pattern recognition and some sensing of what the future might look like. But I think Facebook is only beginning.”