As a co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, a private equity firm based in New York City, Wes Edens is a seasoned veteran in the investment banking world. Wes Edens graduated with a B.S. in Finance and Business Administration from Oregon State University in 1984 and three years later began his career at Lehman Brothers where he eventually became a partner and managing director. In 1993, Edens left Lehman Brothers and signed on with BlackRock Asset Investors, the private equity division of BlackRock Inc. Once again, he would use his exceptional business acumen to attain partner and managing director at BlackRock. However, both firms would prove to be mere stepping stones for Mr. Edens.
It was in 1998 when Wes Edens signed on as one of five founding partners of Fortress Investment Group along with Peter Briger, Rob Kauffman, Randy Nardone, and Mike Novogratz. As of 2016, Fortress manages $70 billion through a combination of private equity management, credit funds, and traditional asset management.Wes Edens most profitable gambit at Fortress was the 2010 purchase of Springleaf Financial – a subprime loan provider – for $124 million. Five years later, Springleaf reached a valuation of $3.5 billion, giving Fortress a nearly thirty-fold return on their investment and earning Edens the title “new king of subprime lending” by the Wall Street Journal.
With a personal net worth exceeding $1.2 billion – high enough to rank #962 on Forbes’ Billionaires Index – Edens has segued into both professional sports and e-sports. Alongside fellow billionaire investor Marc Lasry, Edens co-purchased the Milwaukee Bucks, an NBA franchise based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wes’ confidence in seemingly unconventional business ventures was again highlighted with his 2017 ownership of FlyQuest, a professional League of Legends e-sports team.While e-sports have existed since at least the 1990’s, the last few years have seen explosive growth with annual revenue exceeding $600 million by 2017. With League of Legends positioned at the forefront of competitive video gaming, it’s entirely possible to envision a future in which owning an e-sports team can potentially rival – or even overcome – a traditional sports franchise.