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Japan's SoftBank to acquire Fortress for $3.3 bn

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15 February 2017

Japanese telecommunications, internet and solar company SoftBank Group Corp is acquiring investment company Fortress Investment Group for $3.3 billion.

The deal was announced by New York-based Fortress and SoftBank Group today.

According to Fortress, which manages global investments, its senior professionals would stay to keep up its fund performance.

Tokyo-based SoftBank had followed an aggressive global acquisitions strategy. Chief executive Masayoshi Son recently announced an investment of $50 billion in US startups to create 50,000 jobs.

"Fortress' excellent track record speaks for itself, and we look forward to benefiting from its leadership, broad-based expertise and world-class investment platform," Son said in a statement.

SoftBank owns the US wireless company Sprint Corp and the UK's ARM Holdings. ARM has built a reputation for itself as an innovator in the "internet of things," and smartphone technology.

Softbank had set up a $25-billion private fund for technology investments that it said might grow to $100 billion.

Fortress co-chairmen Pete Briger and Wes Edens said, "We join a company with tremendous scale and resources, and a culture completely aligned with our focus on performance, service and innovation," in a joint statement.

Fortress Class A stockholders would get $8.08 a share, the companies announced late yesterday, which was 39 per cent above the closing price Monday, excluding dividends.

The shares were up about 6 per cent in regular trading yesterday before the announcement of the deal. Shares rose over 25 per cent after the deal was announced after-hours, shares soared over 25 per cent.

Some Softbank watchers were expressed surprise at  the move as Son, one of the best-known and most-colorful Japanese businessmen, was known for bold acquisition moves in the technology and communications arena.

Son had acquired ARM Holdings PLC, a UK designer of microprocessors, for about $24 billion; in 2013, acquired control of US mobile-phone carrier Sprint Corp.





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