Founded in 1998, Fortress Investment Group is a New York based investment management firm. When Wes Edens, Randal Nardone and Robert Kauffman first founded the company, they envisioned it being a private equity firm. However, the company quickly expanded the services it offered to include alternative assets that included credit funds, hedge funds, debt securities, real estate related investments as well as private equity. To help manage these new investment classes, the founders brought in Goldman Sachs partners Peter Briger and Michael Novogratz. In early 2007, Fortress Investment Group began to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. That made it the first time shares of a larger private equity firm had been offered to the public in the United States. Fortress Investment Group has continued to grow steadily. The firm had credit funds, liquid hedge funds, private equity and other forms of alternative assets under management that totaled $70 billion by 2016.
The experience of the founders of the company played a major role in Fortress Investment Group’s growth. Nardone and Novogratz had been UBS managing directors and Wes Edens had been a Blackrock Financial Management partner. The core competencies of Fortress Investment Group include asset-based investing, expertise in pricing, financing, owning and overseeing assets, industry knowledge, corporate mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and operations management. The company is guided by a framework of policies and procedures set forth by its board of directors that establishes an incredible level of accountability and business integrity. This has led the Fortress Investment Group to earn numerous awards from publications like HFMWeek and Institutional Investor. Those accolades include “Hedge Fund Manager of the Year”, “Management Firm of the Year“, “Discretionary Macro-Focused Hedge Fund of the Year” and “Credit-Focused Fund of the Year”.
The private equity investment portfolio of the Fortress Investment Group includes Alea Group Holdings, Aircastle Limited, AMRESCO, Capstead Mortgage Corporation, GateHouse Media, Boxclever, CW Financial Services, Global Signal, Inc., Eurocastle Investment Limited, GAGFAH, Florida East Coast Railway, Flagler, Green Tree Servicing LLC, Springleaf Financial, Nationstar Mortgage and many other companies. Fortress Investment Group as provided the $875 million the Millennium Development Group need to build the athlete’s village in Vancouver, British Columbia for the Winter Olympics in 2010. Fortress Investment Group was awarded ownership of the facilities when the Olympics were over. Japanese company the Softbank Group were so impressed with the work of the Fortress Investment Group that in 2017 they expressed an interest in purchasing the company some time in the future. They made good on that desire by completing the acquisition of the Fortress Investment Group in December 2017 for a reported $3.3 billion. The SoftBank Group has agreed to let the company continue to function as a stand-alone entity. Plus, the Softbank Group has asked the Fortress Investment Group executive team of Wesley Edens, Randal Nardone, Robert Kauffman, Michael Novogratz and Peter Briger to continue to maintain their current roles in running the company. This shows their confidence in the company’s leadership.