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SoftBank to acquire US equity group Fortress Investment

$70bn fund will balance Japanese company's aggressive investments

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group said Wednesday that it has entered into a definite agreement with Fortress Investment Group to acquire the U.S. private equity firm for roughly $3.3 billion.

The Japanese telecommunications and internet company, known for its bold acquisition moves, is expected to fork over its own money for a portion of that amount, with the rest coming from other investors. The main attraction of Fortress is believed to be its ability to manage large-scale investments, as its assets under management stood at $70.1 billion as of Sept. 30, 2016.

SoftBank Group has been a shrewd venture capital investor, scoring 40%-plus returns on its investments in various information technology startups. But it may be feeling a need to bolster its asset management capability, with a plan to set up an investment fund jointly with the Saudi Arabian government.

SoftBank Group is looking to invest several hundred billion yen a year over five years to reach 10 trillion yen ($87.5 billion) or so in assets. Its aggressive investment strategy focuses on information technology startups.

Aside from bringing in its asset management prowess to the table, Fortress likely will provide a counterbalance to the new fund, with its conservative investments in real estate and other assets.

(Nikkei)

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