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Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Is in Talks to Buy Asset Manager Fortress From SoftBank

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·2 min read
Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Is in Talks to Buy Asset Manager Fortress From SoftBank
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(Bloomberg) -- Mubadala Investment Co. is in talks to acquire asset manager Fortress Investment Group from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp., people with knowledge of the matter said.

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The Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund is discussing a deal that would value Fortress at more than $1 billion, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Mubadala has long been a SoftBank counterpart, and in 2017 said it would be among anchor investors in the firm’s debut Vision Fund.

While discussions with Mubadala are at an advanced stage, there’s no certainty they will reach an agreement and other potential buyers could emerge, the people said. Bloomberg News reported in November that SoftBank, which is led by billionaire Masayoshi Son, was exploring options for Fortress including a potential sale.

Representatives for Mubadala, SoftBank and Fortress declined to comment.

SoftBank acquired Fortress in 2017, intending to use the New York-based firm’s expertise to help manage its behemoth Vision Fund.

“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’s Son said in a 2017 statement.

Son’s plans were foiled. To win approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., SoftBank agreed to cede day-to-day control of Fortress, which has been run independently since the acquisition.

The firm, led by co-chief executive officers Pete Briger and Wesley Edens, managed $53.3 billion as of Dec. 31, its website shows.

(Adds Mubadala declines to comment in fourth paragraph.)

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