In 2007, Fortress Investment Group became the largest private equity firm to present an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, and since its founding in 1998, this type of trendsetting has become common practice within the company. Since its founding, Fortress Investment Group has evolved from its original roots which were, primarily, private equity, into a diversified global investment management firm that currently employs upwards of 900 people, while directing over $40 billion in assets. When the firm was initially created, the principals included Randal Nardone, Wes Edens, and Rob Kaufman (who has since retired), but has now added Peter Briger, who operates the Fortress Credit division. In founding the company, the principals, who each had financial backgrounds from reputable financial institutions, hoped to create a model for investment firms; one which utilized an “alternative-asset” strategy.
Fortress Investment Group currently specializes in core elements such as corporate mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, operations management, and asset-based living, which are handled under their Private Equity, Credit, and Permanent Capital Vehicles sectors. Wes Edens is an original principal of Fortress Investment Group, currently heading the Private Equity Division, but he is also very active in a number of other areas, including the sports world, as he purchased the Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million in 2014. He is also the head of Brightline, which is a passenger rail system that is privately owned – the only one of its kind.
Wes Edens’ Brightline, which has been servicing the Miami area since May of this year, is currently breaking new ground by offering an alternative commuting option for those traveling between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. This popular commute, which should generally take no more than half an hour, can often balloon to twice that amount of time during rush hour, but in utilizing Brightline, the ride can generally be capped at 35 minutes. With the early success of Brightline, Wes Edens and Fortress Investment Group, hope to implement this service in more major cities around the United States in the upcoming years.