All Aboard owner Fortress to be acquired for $3.3B by Japanese telecom giant

SoftBank hoping to bring investment talent in-house

Feb.February 16, 2017 05:30 PM

Rendering of MiamiCentral. Inset: Pete Briger and Wes Edens

From the New York website: Fortress Investment Group — the $70 billion investment manager and parent of Coral Gables-based Florida East Coast Industries — is being acquired for $3.3 billion.

Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Group Corp. will buy the publicly-traded company for $8.08 per share — a 39 percent premium — the companies announced. SoftBank will operate Fortress alongside a soon-to-be formed $100 billion technology investment fund.

Fortress [TRDataCustom] principals Pete Briger, Wes Edens and Randy Nardone will continue to run the company within SoftBank, Bloomberg reported. Fortress was founded in 1998 and went public in 2007 in a $634.3 million IPO, debuting at $18.50 a share.

But the company’s performance slumped during the financial crisis and has traded as low as $.077 per share.

SoftBank’s acquisition is aimed at bringing investment talent in-house, a company spokeswoman said. The deal, which is subject to shareholder and regulators’ approval, is expected to close by the end of the year.

SoftBank has made $44 billion worth of investments and acquisitions since 2015, as it’s moved from being a telecom operator into a diversified investment company.

In a statement, founder Masayoshi Son said the Fortress deal would “expand our group capabilities” alongside a soon-to-be-established $100 billion Vision Fund platform.

The firm aims to close the first round of investment in the fund this month. SoftBank is contributing $25 billion to the fund, along with $45 billion from Saudi investors and $1 billion each from Apple Inc., Qualcomm Inc. and Oracle Corp. Chairman Larry Ellison.

Florida East Coast Industries, formerly a publicly traded company, was purchased by Fortress private equity funds in a deal valued at about $3.5 billion in 2007, according to Bloomberg. FECI subsidiary All Aboard Florida is developing Brightline, a $3 billion express-train service from Orlando to Miami. The MiamiCentral station, a massive train depot with residences, restaurants, shops and offices in downtown, is expected to be completed this year.

In New York, Fortress is among the lenders on Extell Development’s Central Park Tower, specifically the $235 million refinancing of the firm’s land loan. In 2015, Fortress sold its stake in the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village complex — which it owned through subsidiary CWCapital — for $5.3 billion.  [Bloomberg]E.B. Solomont

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