Geldof’s 8 Miles Private Equity Fund Targets New Investments In Africa

Written by Dana Sanchez

Irish punk rock singer-turned political activist and businessman, Bob Geldof, said he plans this year to acquire more stakes in African companies that focus on consumer markets after raising $200 million in private equity in 2012.

Geldof built his London-based fund, 8 Miles, with money that included a few hundred thousand dollars of his own, WallStreetJournal reported in 2015.

Named 8 Miles after the shortest distance between Europe and Africa, Geldof’s private equity fund made its first investment in 2013. It backed a start-up company that plans to build commodity exchanges across Africa and improve food security, DailyMail reported.

Other 8 Miles investments include Awash Wines, an Ethiopian government-owned winery; the Verde Beef feed lot, also in Ethiopia; Uganda’s Orient Bank and Biyinzika Poultry; and Egypt’s Eagles Chemicals Group.

“We still have a final bit of money to spend which we should have done given the deals that we have been offered,” Geldof told Reuters. “Arriving at $220 million or $300 million value, by definition you have to go towards the $20 million to $40 million-deals.”

In Ethiopia alone, 8 Miles is looking at five projects, Geldof said in Addis Ababa, where he was attending an event organised by his winery, Reuters reported.

“We are going to do another one in Egypt… In Uganda as well, and Ghana because it is something we really want,” Geldof said.

After Geldof’s fund started investing in Ethiopia, other U.S. investors followed suit, WSJ reported in 2015:

High-profile investors have recently shown up here. KKR & Co., the New York-based private-equity firm … bought control of a rose farm, Afriflora, for about $200 million, its first investment in Africa. Blackstone Group plans to build a $1.35 billion pipeline to bring gasoline to the capital, Addis Ababa. Hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones is backing a $2 billion geothermal power project.

Geldof may be best known for his 1985 Live Aid concerts 31 years ago which raised about $145 million for victims of a devastating Ethiopian famine. Back then, the country was a magnet for Western charity, WSJ reported. Today, some of America’s richest deal makers are delivering something else: investment.

 

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About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubail Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.