Wesley Edens, Co-Founder of Fortress, has turned a $124 million into $3.5 billion through his majority investment in Springleaf Holdings, a US lender focused on subprime. “It’s not how I want my epitaph to read,” Edens says of the label, “but it’s not a shameful thing helping people finance themselves. It’s not a bad thing.”
The New York company’s majority stake in subprime lender Springleaf Holdings Inc. has ballooned in value to $3.5 billion—putting the firm’s gain at more than 27 times Fortress’s original investment of $124 million in 2010. Buying the stake was Mr. Edens’s idea. Fortress also has turned around its $1 billion investment in Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc., led by Mr. Edens in 2006 but soon worthless, into $350 million in paper and actual gains. Nationstar collects payments on home loans, about 20% of which are subprime.