Fortress Investment Group was founded in 1998 as a private equity firm by Randal Nardone, Wes Edens and Rob Kauffman (who retired in 2012). The three founders put together their vast financial experiences into making their firm competitive, willing to adapt and ultimately a trend-setter.
Initially, Fortress Investment Group was built around real estate investments in the New York and Toronto markets, but it quickly grew and expanded into debt securities, hedge funds and private equity investment. The firm’s goal was to employ an alternative-asset strategy. The business strategies that the group has showed, made them into a success from the beginning, its private equity funds growing close to 40% in 7 years, from 1999 to 2006.
Currently Fortress Investment Group manages on behalf of more than 1,750 private investors and clients around the world, more than $70 billion in assets.
The first decade in the history of Fortress Investment Group was one of dramatic growth, more key players being added to the leadership of the firm, and important acquisitions being made, including RailAmerica, Penn National Gaming and Florida East Coast Industries, among others. Their expansion was highlighted by the firm going public on the New York Stock Exchange, being the first large-scale private equity firm in the United States to do so. Fortress Investment Group’s public profile was raised as a result of them going public, and led the way for other firms to follow suit and lunch an IPO.
A decade later after going public and becoming a trailblazer, it became the first alternative-investment firm that got bought out, in 2017. SoftBank Group Corporation, a Japanese banking conglomerate with headquarters in Tokyo, bought the firm for a price of $3.3 billion.
The firm continues to function as an independent entity, and Nardone alongside Edens (2 of the 3 founders) are still active in leading the firm. With its headquarters in New York and over 1,100 employees in 15 offices around the world, the firm continues to implement its ‘strong risk-adjusted returns’ strategy for investors over the long term, and is expected to continue acting as a leader in the alternative-investment field.