Wes Edens is the mild-mannered co-founder and co-CEO of Fortress Investment Group. Wes Edens and his partners founded Fortress in 1998 as a private equity firm. Today it is a leading investment management firm whose scope is global. Fortress provides its investors with opportunities in permanent capital vehicles, private equity, and hedge funds.
When it comes to investment opportunities, Wes Edens seems to have a flair for the unexpected and the unusual. When one thinks of public transit, one almost automatically assumes some form of government or quasi-governmental agency as owner. But Wes Edens Brightline passenger rail service is part of the nation’s first privately owned commuter rail system. At present, Brightline operates commuter trains between Miami, Florida, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
The Brightline trains are unexpectedly well appointed. They feature leather seats, wide aisles, Wi-Fi service, power outlets, and USB ports. And should a Brightline passenger want to socialize a bit, or have a bite to eat, lounges and food service are available. Nice.
Wes Edens interests don’t end with trains, or with rehabilitating the good parts of the once decimated but essential sub-prime lending industry, they extend to sports as well. Wes is co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball franchise.
Wes Edens and Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris (Egypt’s wealthiest citizen) have agreed to make a substantial capital investment in the Aston Villa Football Club. After spending 29-years in the football’s top division — the Premier League — Aston was relegated to second-tier status in 2016. That fall was a humbling experience for the seven-time champions, but they can look forward to better days as Edens and Sawiris plan a multi-year rebuild of the troubled team’s operations.
The Chinese businessman Tony Xia, who purchased the Aston Villa club two years ago will remain a board member and become co-chairman of the club. Under Tony Xia, Aston Villa came tantalizingly close to regaining Premier League status last year.
Wes Edens received undergraduate degree from Oregon State University in 1986, spent some time after that in banking for Lehman Brothers. At Lehman, Wes rose to partner and managing director. His next stop was Black Rock Asset Investors. Then in 1998 he, Randal Nardone, and Rob Kauffman founded Fortress Investment Group.