Who was the keynote speaker at the annual global gathering of Private Equity firms in Berlin last month?
Why, it was Bob Geldof.
Not just there because 'putting Geldof on the bill' is an easy way to pretend you're socially responsible and ethical, but also because Geldof is one of them:
He is now the chairman of an Africa-focused private equity fund which said earlier this month it had raised $200 million from investors, close to half its targeted size of $450 million.Geldof's fund is promising a rate of return of 25% - or, in other words, is promising to take a large chunk of any wealth created straight back out of the continent into the developed world.
Dubbed 8 Miles, the fund plans to invest in companies that can develop into "African champions" in sectors such as agribusiness, telecoms and consumer goods.
"We put together our little thing - a goldilocks thing, not too small, not too big, just right. And we will make a lot of money, a lot. For me I want to leave behind me firms, farms, factories. Fuck the money, that's me," Geldof said.
But remember, Geldof's not really bothered about the money:
Geldof referenced the big payday of some of private equity's titans, including Henry Kravis and George Roberts, who got $94 million each in 2011 from buyout firm KKR & Co LP , in also making a wider case for philanthropy.So, Geldof's big idea is that you encourage people to invest in Africa, to rake enormous profits out the natural resources and endeavours of those who live there, on the sort-of-off-chance that the people who've made all that money will decide they don't really need it and give some of it back?
"You have got the four houses, the three jets, the 10 cars, the 65th fucking Picasso. What's the point? So its stuff, and right now it's the stuff that will get us out of that mess," Geldof said.
Because, as we know, it's not like Bob Geldof is greedy, is it?
In other news: Oh, look, Geldof's playing a tax dodge:
The country is missing out on more than £1bn in tax as the rich and famous have registered thousands of their exclusive properties into offshore companies, it has been revealed.Ah, 'prefectly legitimate tax planning'. It's an irregular verb, isn't it?
Town houses, mansions, vast country estates and castles are among the 94,760 properties which have been placed offshore, according to the Land Registry.
Rock stars Mick Jagger and Bob Geldof and Ringo Starr are among the many who have taken advantage of the loophole.
BVI companies own poverty campaigner Geldof's homes in London and Kent which his spokesman said was 'perfectly legitimate' tax planning and not a way to avoid stamp duty.
I plan my taxes
You avoid your taxes
He dodges his taxes
Did I say that the private equity industry could cite inviting Geldof as an example of its social commitment? Maybe I was wrong. Maybe they should have avoided tarnishing their reputation by bringing him along.