An interesting story came across our desks at CityCaucus Tower today. It's a Bloomberg.com interview done with Wesley Edens of Fortress Investment Group, the folks financing Vancouver's Olympic Village project. The headline reads "Fortress Blocks Redemptions as Shareholders Lose 96% Since IPO".
The Bloomberg.com story makes for an interesting read and gives you an American perspective regarding the recent headlines about the Olympic Village controversy.
Bloomberg delves into the financial future of Fortress and provides some excellent analysis:
“The more I’ve learned about Fortress, the less comfortable I’ve become,” says Jackson Turner, who follows the company at New York-based Argus Research Co. “There’s just this drip, drip, drip of bad news.”
They also reveal a bit more about the operation of the company:
Fortress is a prime example of what happens when the secretive world of hedge funds collides with the public disclosure required of listed companies. Two years after its initial public offering, Fortress remains a tangled web of subsidiaries and partnerships that analyst Turner says is anything but transparent.
Needless to say, the article will be of interest to those folks who just haven't read enough about the complicated financing arrangement for the Olympic Village development.
As for the future prospects of Fortress, here is what their exec had to say:
Edens, who cut his financial teeth buying bad debt during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, says he’s optimistic his company will make it through the crisis. Bad times are good for his style of investing, he says.
“From 2003 to 2006, there was no distress,” he says. “Now everything is distressed. This should be the golden age.”
FAST FACTS about Fortress:
- They were established in 1998 by Edens and his two partners
- Fortress has about 900 employees raising money and investing it.
- Fortress indirectly employs tens of thousands of additional people in its various private equity investments, with 22,000 at Intrawest alone.