Bono and co put cash into Forbes Media

A private equity company backed by U2 frontman Bono has become a minority shareholder in US media group Forbes as it bids to make its mark on the internet.

Elevation Partners has invested in the renamed Forbes Media LLC, publisher of Forbes magazine, and other properties.

Terms were not disclosed, but the New York Times speculated that Elevation might have paid up to $300 million (£157 million) for a 40 per cent stake.

The Forbes website has been particularly successful in recent years, outdrawing sites such as CNN Money and Business Week Online.

Some think Forbes is an attractive investment because it is not aligned with any big corporations. Fortune is owned by Time Warner, Business Week by McGraw Hill, and a new title, Portfolio, is due to be launched by Condé Nast.

Like many of its competitors, Forbes has seen its ad income decline by more than half in the past five years. This is partly attributed to a drop-off in auto advertising.

President and CEO Steve Forbes admits the company has been looking for a partner since 1999, and believes that this is the right moment to bring in new partners.

Selling out completely was not an option, he insisted.

"This investment by Elevation Partners will now accelerate our pursuit of a number of very exciting opportunities for growth," he said.

"The team brings impressive experience and great expertise, and they are particularly strong in technology, media and entertainment innovations."

Elevation Partners, named after a U2 song, invests in media, entertainment and consumer-related businesses.

Its six partners include Fred Anderson, former chief financial officer of Apple Computers, and John Riccitiello, former president of video games publisher Electronic Arts.

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