Wesley R. Edens

Fortress Investment Holdings LLC

Wesley R. Edens

Assets Under Management: $41.4 B
Net Worth: $1.2 B
Age: 57
Location: New York, NY
Education: Oregon State University (B.S. in Finance and Business Administration)

Wesley R. Edens: Betting on the Underdog... and Winning

“What I want to do is see things for what they are, not how others see them.”  This quote succinctly encapsulates the extraordinary life and business philosophy of financier and known maverick Wesley R. Edens.

Mr. Edens, at 56 years of age, is a Principal, Founder and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fortress Investment Group LLC.  It was at Fortress that he made his fortune, and today Wesley continues to manage the firm’s private equity and publicly traded alternative investment businesses.

Having received a B.S. in Finance from Oregon State University, Wesley Edens’ began his career in 1987 at Lehman Brothers, where he was a partner and managing director until 1993.  He then went to BlackRock’s private equity division BlackRock Asset Investors, where he remained until 1997 as a partner and managing director before starting Fortress with four business partners.

A leading, highly diversified global investment manager, Fortress Investment Group was founded in 1998 and oversees $41.4 billion of total assets under management on behalf of over 1,750 institutional clients and private investors worldwide.  The firm deploys a broad range of credit and real estate, private equity and permanent capital investment strategies.

Fortress set a precedent in February 9, 2007 when the firm launched on the New York Stock Exchange, becoming the first large private equity firm in the United States to be traded publicly.  Wesley Edens and Fortress made the news again in 2010 when they bet on a subprime lender, Springleaf Holdings Inc., buying a majority stake for $124 million – a big bet on an underdog at the time.  By 2015, their stake’s value had risen to $3.5 billion.

Wesley is also the Chairman of Nationstar Mortgage, a subprime home equity mortgage lender, which was acquired by Fortress in 2006 for $575 million.  In addition, Wesley Edens purchased the Milwaukee Bucks with Marc Lasry for $550 million in 2014; this was yet another underdog bet at the time that paid off big-time, as the Bucks are currently worth an estimated $1.075 billion.

And if all of that weren’t enough, Fortress Investment Group recently opened Brightline, a privately funded intercity passenger railroad in South Florida, to the public.  A first in the railroad industry, the $3 billion Brightline project was seven years in the making.  Brightline’s future plans include building an express intercity passenger rail connecting Southern California and Las Vegas.

It’s hard to keep track of the number of times Wesley bet on an apparent long shot and came out on top in the end.  There’s no telling what project he’ll get into next, but one thing’s for sure: you don’t want to bet against Wesley R. Edens.


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