Ja­pan’s Soft­Bank to Ac­quire Fortress In­vest­ment Group for $3.3 Bil­lion

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

New York: Soft­Bank Group is buy­ing al­ter­na­tive-as­set man­ager Fortress In­vest­ment Group LLC for $3.3 bil­lion in cash to op­er­ate along­side the Ja­panese com­pany’s soon-to-be-es­tab­lished tech­nol­ogy in­vest­ment fund. Ja­pan’s Sof t Bank wil l pay $8.08 a share for New York-based Fortress, a 39% pre­mium to the com­pany’s Fe­bru­ary 13 clos­ing price, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment on Tues­day. Fortress princi- pals Pete Briger, Wes Edens and Randy Nar­done have agreed to con­tinue lead­ing the busi­ness, which will re­main based in New York and op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently within Soft­Bank, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

Soft­Bank’s founder Masayoshi Son is in the process of creat­ing a $100 bil­lion Vi­sion Fund with Saudi Ara­bia and other back­ers that would make the Ja­panese bil­lion­aire one of the world’s big­gest tech­nol­ogy in­vestors. The Fortress deal will be sep­a­rate from that ve­hi­cle and is aimed at bring­ing in­vest­ment ta­lent in­house, ac­cord­ing to a Soft­Bank spokes­woman. The ac­qui­si­tion, sub­ject to ap­proval by Fortress share­hold­ers as well as reg­u­la­tors, is ex­pected to close in the sec­ond half.

“Fortress’s ex­cel lent t rack record speaks for it­self, and we look for­ward to ben­e­fit­ing from its lead­er­ship, broad-based ex­per­tise and world-class in­vest- ment plat­form,” Son, Soft­Bank’s chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, said in the state­ment.

Shares of Fortress closed up 6.5% at $6.21 on Tues­day, giv­ing the New York-based com­pany a mar­ket value of about $2.4 bil­lion. Soft­Bank rose 1.6% in Tokyo on Wed­nes­day.

“Soft­Bank is not do­ing a great job in com­mu­ni­cat­ing where this fits into their in­vest­ment strat­egy,” said To­moaki Kawasaki, an an­a­lyst at Iwai Cosmo Se­cu­ri­ties Co. “There isn’t enough in­for­ma­tion and some peo­ple have an im­pres­sion that this is an in­vest­ment by the Vi­sion Fund.” Fortress was founded in 1998 by Edens, Nar­done and Robert Kauff­man, who came from Swiss bank UBS AG and New York­based Black Rock Fi­nan­cial Man­age­men­tInc.Thethree­founders be­came bil­lion­aires when the fund went pub­lic in 2007 rais­ing $634.3 mil­lion in the first IPO by a pri­vate-eq­uity firm.

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