Fortress set to be first hedge fund on NYSE

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The Independent Online

Fortress Investment is planning to sell up to $750m (£393m) worth of stock in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange as it becomes the first hedge fund to list on the US exchange.

Fortress, which manages some $26bn in private-equity funds, hedge funds and publicly traded alternative investment vehicles, yesterday filed an IPO prospectus with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Goldman Sachs, Banc of America Securities, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank Securities and Lehman Brothers will underwrite the IPO,.

The New York-based firm is seeking a listing under the symbol "FIG". Fortress said the offering would comprise class A shares, but said the firm's five principals would hold about 90 per cent of the voting power of the outstanding shares through their control of class B shares. The firm, founded in 1998, is held by Peter Briger, Wesley Edens, Robert Kauffman, Randal Nardone and Michael Novogratz.

Fortress, which has grown rapidly in recent years, said one objective in the IPO was to provide financial incentives for existing and future employees. But the move will also give it currency to expand through acquisition, create new investment products and give it more credibility with institutions as a listed company.

The IPO comes amid a slew of recent listings for funds known as business development corporations, or BDCs, which are controlled by buyout firms such as Kolhberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Apollo Management. But so far, it has been relatively rare for alternative asset managers to list their corporate entities.

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