FORTUNE -- Financial media giant Forbes is on the block for a reported $400 million, with Deutsche Bank (DB) beating the bushes for a buyer. If there is a sale, however, relatively few of the proceeds would go into the Forbes family's pockets.
Back in 2006, a private equity firm called Elevation Partners -- whose partners include rock star Bono and former Apple (AAPL) exec Fred Anderson -- acquired a minority stake in Forbes Media LLC, the family-owned publisher of Forbes magazine and other properties. No financial terms were disclosed, but Fortune has learned that the total investment was $264 million (including some small follow-on investments). Moreover, the deal was structured as preferred stock, meaning that Elevation would get paid back first in the event of a sale (and then share in any gains).
That provision is paramount today, given the asking price. If Forbes sells for $400 million, then minority shareholder Elevation would receive a majority of the proceeds. Not too shabby, particularly given that Elevation had written its Forbes investment down by more than 75%.
For Elevation, this would be its second major save. The firm previously looked to have made a massive mistake by investing $460 million into mobile device maker Palm, but used a sophisticated structure -- plus an unexpectedly generous buyout from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) -- to eek out around a $25 million profit. It also has experienced large gains via smaller investments in both Facebook (FB) and Yelp (YELP).
Forbes would be the last major holding for the only fund Elevation has ever raised, a $1.9 billion vehicle closed in 2005. It also retains around 225,000 shares in Yelp, valued at $15.2 million. As of March 31, the fund was profitable with an 8.41 internal rate of return (a figure that would rise considerably were it to be made whole on Forbes).
An Elevation spokesman declined to comment for this story.
[Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported that Elevation's original investment only was in Forbes' digital assets.]
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Going beyond the noise.
FORTUNE -- Sonos, a maker of wireless home audio systems, has raised $135 million in a growth equity round led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). Elevation Partners and Redpoint Ventures also participated, while existing company shareholders include Index Ventures and BV Capital.
1. According to All Things D, only about $45 million of the round is primary capital. The remainder is founder/early shareholder liquidity. Unclear if BV is MOREDan Primack - Jun 19, 2012 11:07 AM ET
Reports of Bono's payday have been greatly exaggerated.
FORTUNE -- There have been a lot of silly things written about Facebook (FB) in the past 24 hours, but this item over at HuffingtonPost takes the cake:
Of course, HuffPo was not alone. Similar sophistry was posted at MSN, music blog NME and, most egregiously, on NASDAQ's own website.
Here's the reality: Bono is a partner with Elevation Partners, a private equity firm that invested MOREDan Primack - May 18, 2012 5:39 PM ET
How Elevation Partners fared with Yelp.
Online review site Yelp (YELP) went public earlier today, with shares rocketing more than 64% as of 2:20pm. The last time Yelp raised money was in January 2010, through a private investment from Elevation Partners. So, now that we have a third-party valuation, let's see how Elevation is making out.
Before beginning, let me stress that Elevation did not sell any shares in the IPO and MOREDan Primack - Mar 2, 2012 2:30 PM ET
After default, emergency restructuring was needed to satisfy lenders.
FORTUNE -- The Forbes family has poked itself in the eye with its "capitalist tool."
Like many publishers, Forbes Media has struggled during the financial crisis. But according to nonpublic documents made available to Fortune, the company has been under more financial strain than previously believed. Forbes Media violated covenants on a revolving credit line that it took out in 2006, according to MOREKatie Benner - Jul 28, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Success, it seems, is all in the eye of the beholder.
For most of us, Silver Lake Partners would fit the bill. Since being founded in 1999, the tech-focused private equity firm has amassed $14 billion in assets under management, opened offices around the globe, produced strong returns for investors and diversified its investment strategy. For Silver Lake co-founder Roger McNamee, however, Silver Lake is about opportunity lost.
McNamee was one of MOREDan Primack - Mar 18, 2011 2:22 PM ET
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