Wes Edens, the co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, recently announced a partnership with the billionaire, Richard Branson’s, Virgin Group, regarding his budding rail-service, Brightline. Wes Edens, who became the head of the United States’ only privately-held passenger train service, discussed the partnership in a limited fashion, launched Brightline in the Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach areas, with plans of extending the service to Orlando and Tampa. He also discussed future plans to create a line that will connect Las Vegas to Southern California, undoubtedly, after some time after the partnership is finalized. Prior to the launch of Brightline, Amtrak, which is a government-subsidized brand, held a virtual monopoly on passenger rail service. This was a major topic of discussion when Wes Edens met with Branson last year at the company’s Miami-based station. Read more on bizjournals.com
Through Virgin Group, Richard Branson has connected a number of industries, including music and entertainment, as well as telecommunications and transit. Virgin Trains has been in existence for over twenty years in the United Kingdom, and Mr. Branson cited his latest maneuver, which will lend the Virgin brand to Brightline, as an opportunity that has long been a goal of his. In 2019, Brightline will be rebranded, Virgin Trains USA. Wes Edens and Fortress Investment Group feel that the vastness of the Virgin brand will allow Brightline to grow exponentially in the near future, with industry-disrupting potential.
Although specific details of the impending rebranding are scarce, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, which currently manages Brightline, will continue to garner the lion’s share of the holdings. The existing management team at Fortress Investment Group will also remain unchanged and will continue handling the daily operations, as well as strategy and business development. In 2019, upon closing, an affiliate of Virgin Brand has also pledged to take a minority stake in the business. The UK-based, Virgin Trains, released the statistics regarding their West Coast Main Line, revealing that 38 million trips were taken last year in this sector alone, further emphasizing the tremendous expectations held by Wes Edens and Richard Branson.