Bono, the Irish rock star, is being hailed as "the worst investor in America" as his five person investment team Elevation Partners reels from a series of unprofitable investments. It's believed that the rocker has lost millions by investing with Elevation, although a precise figure has yet to be released. What's certain is that the U2 front man has put significant money into Elevation, which investment trade papers are calling arguably the worst run institutional fund of any size in the United States.
Bono is listed as one of the five members of the firm’s investment team, and their fund claims that its “mission is to help media and entertainment businesses develop and market great content.” But in the process it has made an unprecedented string of disastrous investments which, observers say, even bad luck could not explain. The most well-known of the Elevation investments is in Palm, which made an unsuccessful stab at the smartphone business dominated by Apple's iPhone, and handsets powered by the Google mobile operating system known as Android. Investors had hoped that Palm’s new line of Pre handsets would allow the company to be a modest competitor in the smart phone industry but instead it has spent massive amounts for very slim returns and remains in trouble as it tries to reach even fairly modest sales goals.
Elevation was recently quoted in Reuters saying that it still has faith in Palm, a company in which it bought a 25% stake in 2007. It is astonishing, say Wall Street observers, that Elevation would publicly say it still has faith in a company which is close to non-existence. Whitney Tilson, managing partner of T2 Partners, a New York-based hedge fund, recently told MarketWatch in reference to Palm, “There is a 90% chance that they go bankrupt or get acquired within a year.”