As co-founder, principal and board member of Fortress Investment Group, Wesley “Wes” Robert Edens has established himself as one of the nation’s premier businessmen and investors, being responsible for Fortress’ private equity and alternative investment dealings. Holder of a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Business Administration from Oregon State University, Edens launched his career with stints at Lehman Brothers and BlackRock Asset Investors, becoming partner and managing director at both institutions. He would launch Fortress Investment Group in 1998 with five other principals; upon debuting on the New York Stock Exchange nine years later, the New York City-based firm made history as the first private equity firm with substantial holdings to be traded publicly.
In the midst of the subprime mortgage crisi of the late 2000s that saw the firm’s stock price take a major hit, Fortress was shielded from financial jeopardy as a result of a substantial rise in the value of its majority stake in commercial real estate company Springfield Holdings, a majority stake that was purchased in 2010 on the advice of Edens. Fortress’ starting investment of $124 million would eventually grow to more than $3.5 billion dollars, for a more than 2700% hike in value.Today, Fortress employs more than 900 people and manages assets for almost 2,000 clients across the world, assets that boast a combined value of nearly $44 billion.
Beyond his decades-long work at Fortress, Edens chairs the boards of a number of financial organizations like Springleaf Finance, New Media Investment Group and Florida East Coast Holdings, amongst many others. With a net worth of $2.5 billion and take-home pay of more than $50 million a year, Edens has ranked as high as number 369 on the Forbes’ Billionaires List.In addition to his accomplishments in business and finance, Edens is a noted figure in the world of sports and eSports. He is the co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, having purchased the team in 2014 for $550 million along with Avenue Capital Group CEO Marc Lasry. As owners, Edens and Lasry have won plaudits for their intent to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee and the progress made on their soon-to-be-completed $500 million multi-purpose arena for use by the Bucks. Edens is also the sole owner of professional eSports team FlyQuest, which compete in League of Legends and Rocket League .
When an individual looks at the economic landscape of North America today, it may seem impossible to envision a world where there were no private equity firms that were publicly traded. However just over ten years ago there were no private equity firms on the the public market in all of the United States. This all changed in 2007 when Wes Edens led his company that he helped to cofound Fortress Investment Group to its initial public offering in the spring of that year. Since this time Fortress Investment Group under the expert guidance of Wes Edens and the other for initial founders of the company has managed to propel itself into the forefront of global economics as one of the leading alternative asset managers in the world.
Earlier this year the corporation was acquired by technology giant in the country of Japan which is known as Softbank group Corporation. Softbank group Corporation acquired Fortress Investment Group for a premium on the value of its stock price of $2.25. With this premium Fortress Investment Group experienced an immediate increase in the company’s valuation of over $140 million. A deal such as this would not have been possible without the leadership which was displayed by the companies founders and in particular the man known as Wes Edens. Although it may be difficult to envision, Wes Edens was not always a prominent businessman in North America. He originally graduated from Oregon State University with degrees in both finance and business administration in 1984 and went on to work in the finance industry at Lehman Brothers.
During his time at Lehman Brothers, he started off as an entry-level employee and became a managing director. After several years serving as a managing director for Lehman Brothers, he switched companies and became a managing director at Blackrock asset investors where he also served as a managing director until 1997. At this time he along with five other individuals had the idea to start their own private equity company and launched the now globally prominent Fortress Investment Group. It was there that he is investment style became admired by individuals all around the world. It has been described as an investment style comprised of creative financing and bets against the norm that has allowed Wes Edens to build businesses through his investments. It was this style of investing that has propelled his company into the global position of prominence that it currently holds.