The international holdings conglomerate, Softbank, has been highly lauded for its acquisitions since its founding by Masayoshi Son in 1981, often stretching its assets into various sectors and arenas. In 1996, upon gaining a controlling stake in Yahoo, Softbank ascended to a new level, and, in a move similar to their previous investments, they recently purchased Fortress Investment Group for $3.3 billion, furthering their allure. Despite acquiring the company, Softbank will have very little authority in regards to the future of Fortress Investment Group, as this caveat was included in order to ensure that the deal would be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investments. There were a still a number of hurdles to be endured by both, Softbank and Fortress Investment Group, despite the holdings conglomerate’s substantial concessions. As a result of the acquisition, Softbank was required to pay a 39 percent premium to the shareholders of Fortress Investment Group, equaling an $8.08 increase for each share, while the private equity firm was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. At the time, Softbank was also finalizing the acquisition of Boston Dynamics from Google’s parent company, Alphabet, as well as transferring a 25 percent stake from Arms Holdings to their $93 billion Vision Fund.
The founder of Softbank, Masayoshi Son, also worked tirelessly behind the scenes in order to secure the Fortress Investment Group acquisition. After announcing his intention to invest $50 billion in the United States, Masayoshi Son secured the public backing of President Donald Trump, who stated his support of the conglomerate in front of Congress in 2017. Despite having limited authority regarding their recently acquired private equity firm, Softbank was moved to act on the purchase as a result of Fortress’ track record, being that 2007 marked their initiation into the New York Stock Exchange – the first of its kind. While Fortress’ delisting will certainly have some repercussions for the private equity fund, Wes Edens, the company’s co-chair, believes that there are a number of positives to be had from this new experience, including increased freedom.
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In the world of business, it is well known that some companies are more honest than others. This is why value investors like Sahm Adrangi seek out and research these companies who are less than forthcoming with their business practices. When Sam Adrangi suspects that a business isn’t being honest with their investors or customers, he is not afraid to tell the world. When Sahm Adrangi discovers one of these companies, he and his company Kerrisdale Capital Management LLC not only do research, they sometimes short the stocks of the company that is in question. Shorting stocks involves a process that many investors deem to be too risky, but Sahm Adrangi has become an expert at it in his career. To short a stock, an investor borrows a certain amount of shares of a company that they see as very likely to drop drastically in price. As soon as they complete the purchase, the investor sells their stocks and waits for the price to become lower. At this point, the investor buys the same number of stocks that they bought initially and then return them to the lender. This makes it so that short-selling investors like Sahm Adrangi get to keep the difference in price, sometimes a considerable amount of money.
Sahm Adrangi has been doing this for years and has become quite good at it. His most recent target for shorting is the QuinStreet Inc. company. This company operates by driving traffic to the websites of their clients through online marketing. QuinStreet has been facing financial problems for several years, this is why Kerrisdale Capital was so surprised to see their stock quadruple in a very short period of time. After looking into it, Kerrisdale and Sahm Adrangi decided to start researching it more in depth and found that the rise was due to an increase in traffic that they had been directing to their affiliates. The traffic, unfortunately, appears to be completely bogus according to the research. Nearly all of the new revenue generated by QuinStreet came from only one client and is believed to be computer generated instead of genuine.
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