Softbank buys US fund manager Fortress for $3.3bn in next step of strategic redirection

Oliver Gill
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Softbank chief executive Masayoshi Son said the move will "accelerate" changes at the Japanese firm (Source: Getty)

Japanese group Softbank has agreed to buy US fund manager Fortress in a deal worth $3.3bn (£2.6bn), as part of the telecom and technology firm's strategic redirection.

Announced overnight, the deal is the first by Softbank into an investment fund and follows the an announcement last October by chief executive and founder Masayoshi Son that the group has partnered Saudi Arabia to launch a $100bn technology fund.

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In 2014, Softbank hired one of Fortress' senior executives Rajeev Misra, who now runs the joint venture with Saudi Arabia.

Fortress has around $70bn in assets under management and is listed on the New York stock exchange.

Son said Softbank was looking forward to "benefitting from its leadership, broad-based expertise and world-class investment platform".

Softbank 2.0

Son added:

This opportunity will immediately help expand our group capabilities... and will accelerate our Softbank 2.0 transformation strategy of bold, disciplined investment and world class execution to drive sustainable long-term growth.

Fortress co-chairs Pete Briger and Wes Edens – who will continue to lead the investment manager post-deal –said the deal would set Fortress "on a great path forward as part of Softbank".

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The deal is subject to Fortress shareholder approval. Briger and Edens said: "We anticipate substantial benefits for our investors and business as a whole, and we have never been more optimistic about our prospects going forward."

If and when the deal is rubber-stamped by investors, plans are to keep the current management team in place and for Fortress to operate within Softbank as an independent business headquartered in New York.

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