Global investment giant, Fortress Investment Group (FIG), has officially been acquired by Japanese technology company, SoftBank (SFTBY) Group. The $3.3 billion cash purchase was completed at the end of 2017. This acquisition marks a major step into the global investment markets by SoftBank. Since its inception in 1998 as a private equity firm, Fortress has been a bellwether and trendsetter in the financial sector. Fortress made history with its initial public offering (IPO) in 2007 when the company became the first major private equity firm to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. Fortress Investment Group currently has 1,750 investor-clients that they direct $43 billion of assets for.
The assets are directed to private equity, hedge funds, and permanent capital vehicles. The New York-headquartered company has over 900 employees. Fortress was founded by Randal Nardone—current principle, Wes Edens—current principal, and Rob Kauffman—retired in 2012. The founders brought their collective experience from the positions they held at Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, UBS, and BlackRock Financial Management. In 1999, Fortress Investment Group launched its first investment vehicle—the Fortress Investment Fund I. Real estate in New York and Toronto, was the major focus earlier, and later expanded to include hedge funds and debt securities.
Over its first five years, Fortress Investment Group went from $400 million to $3.9 billion in assets managed. The asset count rose to $32.9 billion by 2007. Fortress is also the parent company of New Residential Investment, a company that purchases a large quantity of mortgage servicing rights. The company is also a partial stakeholder in Nationstar Mortgage, the non-bank mortgage company known as Mr. Cooper.SoftBank is aggressively positioning itself in the global financial markets, and also continually increasing its threshold in the technological community, recently announcing a partnership with Saudi Arabia, to establish a $100 billion tech fund. SoftBank’s CEO says that $50 billion of the funds will go toward investments in the US.