The first private equity firm to go public has become the first to be bought.
Ten years after Fortress Investment Group LLC listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. has agreed to buy the alternative-asset manager for $3.3 billion, according to a statement Tuesday. The sale caps a decade of public scrutiny for the New-York based firm as it weathered a sliding stock price and volatile performance.
Fortress's February 2007 listing heralded an era of IPOs for alternative-asset investment firms. Blackstone Group LP followed four months later, and hedge-fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC went public later that year. KKR & Co., Apollo Global Management LLC, Oaktree Capital Group LLC, Carlyle Group LP and Ares Management LP came next.
Fortress, along with Blackstone and Och-Ziff, suffered steep declines in share price as the financial crisis hit their holdings. Fortress, which sold stock in the IPO at $18.50 apiece and traded at all-time high of $37 weeks later, plummeted to as low as 77 cents a share in December 2008.
The stock closed Tuesday at $6.21, 66% below its IPO price. It traded as high as $7.98 Wednesday before the opening of markets in New York.
“Ten years and a week ago we were the first alternative manager to go public,” co-chairmen Pete Briger and Wes Edens and Chief Executive Officer Randy Nardone wrote in an email to employees Tuesday evening. “Now we are embarking on a new path -- although similar to our original mission in many respects, we now embrace the opportunities and challenges of a worldwide market by joining forces with SoftBank.”