Wes Edens Purchases a Stake in Aston Villa, Launches Brightline

Wes Edens, chairman and founder of Fortress Investment Group, joined forces with fellow billionaire businessman Nassef Sawiris to purchase a controlling stake in the football club Aston Villa in July. The exact percentage was not released but a report in The Times said it approached 55 percent.

The controlling stake was purchased from Tony Xia who was the majority owner of the club. He was reported to have sought fresh investment in the club after they were defeated by Fullham in the championship playoff final in May. The Times reported the club is losing upwards 5 million pounds a week and needs 70 million pounds to meet operating costs before the next season.

Wes Eden is also the part-owner of the U.S.-based Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. He partnered with Marc Lasry on that purchase.

In other news, Wes Edens’ Brightline Train made its inaugural voyage between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The system is the first privately-owned and -operated venture of its kind in the nation and costs riders $10 for a one-way ticket. Brightline reaches average speeds of 80 MPH while driving on Interstate 95 averages a much slower 52 MPH.

Wes Edens said similar train systems would benefit other metro areas in the United States. Possible routes, he said, include rail transportation between Houston and Dallas, Atlanta and Charlotte, and other congested corridors where commuting by car is a growing hassle.

Fortress Investment Group was founded by Wes Edens in 1998 and has grown to become a $72 billion company. It is a private equity and hedge fund specializing in financial services, real estate, infrastructure, health care and other industries. It was sold in 2017 to Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp., according to the report in Wings Journal. Edens will remain with Fortress for five more years and remain in his leadership role. Billionaire Sawiris, Edens to Buy Aston Villa Soccer Club