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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank

SoftBank Group to acquire Fortress Investment Group for USD3.3bn


SoftBank Group (SoftBank or SBG) is to acquire Fortress Investment Group (Fortress) in a cash deal worth approximately USD3.3 billion.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, which has been unanimously approved by a Special Committee of Independent Directors of Fortress's Board of Directors and Fortress's full Board of Directors, each Fortress Class A shareholder will receive USD8.08 per share, which represents a premium of 38.6 per cent to the closing price of Fortress Class A common stock on 13 February, 2017, and a premium of 51.2 per cent to Fortress's 3-month volume-weighted average price, excluding dividends. In addition, each Fortress Class A shareholder may receive up to two regular quarterly dividends prior to the closing, each in an amount not to exceed USD0.09 per Class A Share. Fortress plans to maintain its current base dividend of USD0.09 per share for the fourth quarter of 2016 and, if closing does not occur prior to the applicable payment date, for the first quarter of 2017.

Pete Briger, Wes Edens and Randy Nardone (the Fortress Principals) have agreed to continue to lead Fortress, and have committed to invest 50 per cent of their after-tax proceeds from the transaction in Fortress-managed funds and vehicles, underscoring a deep alignment with the interests of Fortress's limited partner investors, and in equity securities of SoftBank and SoftBank-managed funds and vehicles. In addition, the Fortress Principals have agreed to vote shares representing an aggregate of 34.99 per cent of the outstanding Fortress voting shares held by them in favour of the transaction.

Fortress's senior investment professionals will remain in place and will retain their significant participation interests in fund performance. Fortress will operate within SoftBank as an independent business headquartered in New York, and SoftBank is committed to maintaining the leadership, business model, brand, personnel, processes and culture that have supported Fortress's success to date.

“Fortress's excellent track record speaks for itself, and we look forward to benefitting from its leadership, broad-based expertise and world-class investment platform,” says Masayoshi Son (pictured), Chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp. “For SoftBank, this opportunity will immediately help expand our group capabilities, and, alongside our soon-to-be-established SoftBank Vision Fund platform, will accelerate our SoftBank 2.0 transformation strategy of bold, disciplined investment and world class execution to drive sustainable long-term growth.”

“SoftBank is an extraordinary company that has thrived under the visionary leadership of Masayoshi Son,” says Fortress Co-Chairmen Pete Briger and Wes Edens. “We are very pleased to announce an agreement setting our business on a great path forward as part of SoftBank, while creating significant value for our shareholders. We join a company with tremendous scale and resources, and a culture completely aligned with our focus on performance, service and innovation. We anticipate substantial benefits for our investors and business as a whole, and we have never been more optimistic about our prospects going forward.”

Under the terms of the agreement, SoftBank can bring in partners for a portion of the investment. Nizar Al-Bassam and Dalinc Ariburnu of FAB Partners, who arranged the transaction, will continue to advise SoftBank with respect to Fortress.

The transaction is subject to approval by Fortress shareholders, certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the second half of 2017.

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