Fortress Investment Group, LLC is a leading New York-based investment management firm, dealing in Private Equity, Credit Funds, Hedge Funds and Traditional Asset Management, and Railroads. The firm trades as FIG on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Fortress was founded as a private equity firm in 1998 by Randal A. Nardone, a managing director of UBS, and now Fortress interim CEO; Rob Kauffman, also a managing director of UBS; and Wes Edens, a former partner at BlackRock Financial Management, Inc., and now Principal and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors at Fortress. Nardone and Edens remain key management personnel with the company, joined by Peter L. Briger, who serves as Principal and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors at Fortress, along with Edens.
As is typical with most every investment management firm in the industry, Fortress has experienced a series of highs and lows, as well as a few controversial situations, in their relatively short history. In spite of the difficult times, though, the company has survived, and has in fact risen to the top of the market. As of mid-July of 2013, the Fortress Investment Group had four core businesses with assets under management totaling approximately $55.6 billion.
Prosperity the company is realizing now is all the more gratifying, as the economic downturn of 2008 crippled firms in hedge funds, with Fortress and its principals taking a hard hit at this time. Forbes, in the wake of the downturn, included Edens and two other Fortress principals among “its biggest billionaire losers of 2008”.
In terms of acquisitions, Fortress began making significant deals back in 2006, when Fortress-managed Funds acquired Intrawest, a Canadian ski resort, and North America’s largest ski resort which also operates Abercrombie & Kent, and other luxury adventure travel brands.
In May of 2007, the Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) Board of Directors announced that a Fortress-managed fund would acquire FECI (which includes the Florida East Coast Railway) in a transaction valued at $3.5 billion.
Fortress’s private equity portfolio includes: Alea Group Holdings (Bermuda) Ltd., Aircastle Limited, AMRESCO, Brookdale Senior Living Inc., Boxclever, CW Financial Services, Capstead Mortgage Corporation, Eurocastle Investment Limited, Flagler, Florida East Coast Railway, GateHouse Media, Inc., Global Signal, Inc., GAGFAH, Green Tree Servicing LLC, Holiday Retirement, Italfondiario, Intrawest, Kramer Junction, MBS Holdings, MS Hub, Mapeley Limited, Nationstar Mortgage LLC, Prime Retail, Penn National Gaming, Inc., RESG, RailAmerica, Inc., Springleaf Financial, Simon Storage, and Umami Burgers.
On Jan. 21, 2014, the Fortress Investment Group bid for and won the assets of the bankrupted Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, the line going bankrupt following the devastating runaway train derailment at Lac-Megantic, which was loaded with crude oil. The accident destroyed much of the city’s downtown historic area in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, causing 47 deaths to residents. The line, which Fortress brands as the Central Maine and Quebec Railway, was in March 2014 reported to need an estimated $10-20 million investment, over a 3-year period, to repair the line, as it is in very bad condition, not safe for the transport of oil or dangerous goods. The sale was completed for $15.8 million on May 15, 2014.
The Birmingham Business Journal, in October 2014, reported that the Fortress Investment Group had purchased the Inverness Corners retail center.