Fortress buys tanker business for $677m

Fortress Investment, the global private investment house, has agreed to take private Greek oil shipping company Stelmar Shipping.

New York-based global investment house Fortress Investment Group today announced an agreement to buy Stelmar Shipping, an Athens, Greece-based oil transportation company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The deal, valued at $677 million (€557 million) in cash, was unanimously approved by Stelmar’s board of directors. Since going public in 2001, Stelmar’s share price has risen from around $13 per share to over $35 per share yesterday.

Stelmar operates a tanker fleet of 24 Handymax, 13 Panamax and four Aframax tankers, according to a press release. The company will continue to be led by chairman Nick Hartley.

Fortress has additional offices in Rome, Frankfurt, Geneva and London. The firm, founded in 1998 by a group led by Wesley Edens, operates private equity, real estate and hedge funds. In 2003, the firm raised a $1.25 billion private equity fund.

Edens was a partner and managing director of BlackRock Financial Management in New York, where he headed BlackRock Asset Investors, a private equity fund.

Last year, Fortress Investment hired Matthias Moser from London private equity firm Terra Firma to lead Fortress’ Frankfurt office.