Fortress Investment Group is an alternative asset investment manager which is wholly owned by Japan’s SoftBank. SoftBank completed its purchase of this company in late 2017 and takes a hands-off approach to managing it. The deal to buy Fortress Investment Group was for $3.3 billion and is the first company that SoftBank owns outside of the technology sector. Fortress Investment Group has its main office in New York City and other offices in San Francisco, California, and London, England.
This company manages around $40 billion in assets. These are invested in private equity firms, real estate, and debt instruments. This company was established in 1998 by three co-founders who were Randal Nardone, Wes Edens, and Rob Kauffman. Rob Kauffman has since retired from the financial industry and now focuses on professional car racing. Randal Nardone, Wes Edens, and Peter Briger are now the three principals of this firm and so manage its overall operations and investments.
As a consequence of Fortress Investment Group being bought by SoftBank, they went from being a publically traded firm to one that is now privately owned. This benefitted them because it allows them to be more nimble and efficient. They no longer have to deal with the requirements and scrutiny of being a publically traded company. Through SoftBank, they have also acquired access to a huge number of limited partners across Asia including in Japan, South Korea, China, and elsewhere.
One recent investment they made was into iPass. Fortress Investment Group offered $20 million in funding to iPass with half of that immediately available for use. IPass’ Chief Executive Officer and President Gary Griffiths said that the loan strengthened his company’s balance sheet and allowed them a way to increase their revenues and profits.
iPass created SmartConnect which is a technology they have patented. This company now has the world’s biggest Wi-Fi network already with plans to further extend it using the money it received from the loan. They have 64 million hotspots which are located in places like restaurants, hotels, train stations, airports, and convention centers. They expect to have 380 million of these set up before the close of 2018. Their goal is to provide unlimited Wi-Fi access to people and businesses and this goal is supported by big industry players such as Microsoft and HP.