Japan’s SoftBank to buy US investment firm for $3.3 bn

Tokyo: Japan’s SoftBank said on Wednesday it will buy US asset manager Fortress Investment Group for $3.3 billion, as it moves to hire experienced money managers before launching a major technology investment fund.
The mobile giant said it was paying $8.08 a share for New York-based Fortress, a 39 per cent premium on its February 13 close price.
Fortress is a global investment firm with 1,100 employees and $70.1 billion in assets under management as of September last year, according to a joint statement. SoftBank said the firm’s top management would stay in place and it would continue to operate independently under its umbrella.
“We look forward to benefiting from its leadership, broad-based expertise and world-class investment platform,” said SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son.
Son was among the first business people to meet Donald Trump after his November election victory.
SoftBank’s founder pledged to invest $50 billion in business and job-creation in the United States, winning praise from the then-president-elect.
Son later said the money would come from the $100 billion technology investment fund he is setting up with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
The Japanese billionaire plans to use the SoftBank Vision Fund to invest heavily in the “Internet of Things,” artificial intelligence and robotics.
SoftBank, which is little known outside Japan, has gone on an acquisition spree over the years. It paid $22 billion for 80 per cent of US mobile carrier Sprint in 2013 and more recently announced the $32 billion purchase of British iPhone chip designer ARM Holdings. — AFP