Did the Facebook IPO Really Make Bono the Richest Rocker in the World?

Media outlets say yes! The U2 front man, however, says no.

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U2 Lead Singer Bono

REUTERS/Benjamin J. Myers

Bono was rich yesterday, is still rich today, and will be rich tomorrow. The question is: how rich? Because if that all-consuming Facebook IPO added a few more zeros to his bank account he could be given the neat new title of “World’s Richest Rock Star.”

Alas, even though NME had speculated that Bono’s stake in Facebook through his investment group, Elevation Partners, would allow him to surpass Paul McCartney to lay claim to the richest rocker around, it apparently wasn’t to be. Here’s what the British music magazine calculated before the IPO:

Given the social media company is currently valued at over $100 billion (£63 billion), this makes Bono’s share worth over $1.5 billion (£940 million) and puts him well above Paul McCartney, who is currently the world’s richest rock star with a fortune of £665 million.

Pop the champagne! Except, as The New York Observer‘s BetaBeat (and others) have pointed out:

NME didn’t take into account the fact that (1) it’s unlikely that all of Elevation Partners’ shares are going into Bono’s pocket and (2) that Elevation is only selling $200 million shares as part of today’s offering, as Dan Primack has noted.

And Bono himself has now debunked the notion, describing it to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC this way:

Well, contrary to reports…this boy is not a billionaire. And–or going to be richer than any people. And not just in the sense of money, by the way. The Beatles are untouchable. That’s just a joke.

Bono also dismissed the idea when approached by Washington Times reporter. “Um, I don’t think it’s true,” he said, in response to a query asking how he felt about being “one of the wealthiest entertainers on the planet.” And there you have it. Although he probably still feels pretty cool for jumping on the Facebook bandwagon early on, no?