(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File

SoftBank Group of Japan has agreed to acquire Fortress Investment Group (NYSE: FIG), a New York-based alternative asset manager with around $70 billion in AUM, for $3.3 billion. The $8.08 per share price represents a 39% premium over Monday's closing price. Fortress (the first private equity firm to go public, back in 2007) will continue to operate independently, and with the same management team.

• Why it's the BFD: SoftBank already was a major player in the tech investment market before launching its $100 billion Vision Fund (which isn't being used for this deal), but this suggests that it has far greater alternative asset ambitions. In short, it wants to challenge giants like The Blackstone Group ― both in terms of deals and global fundraising ― given that Fortress has substantial real estate and credit activities in addition to private equity.

• Bottom line: "[Masayoshi] Son sees the private-equity business promising in and of itself, with the potential for strong returns on the $3.3 billion price tag. In addition, Son thinks that Fortress, led by principals Pete Briger, Wes Edens and Nardone, can become a sort of brain trust for SoftBank, helping to track down and analyze investment opportunities around the world." -- Bloomberg

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Updated 25 mins ago - World

China says U.S. is "endangering peace" with high-level visit to Taiwan

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a June briefing in Washington, DC. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday night he will lead a delegation to Taiwan "in the coming days."

Why it matters: It's the highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979. Azar is also the first U.S. Cabinet member to visit the island state in six years. The visit has angered China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory. Chinese officials accused the U.S. early Wednesday of "endangering peace" with the visit, AFP reports.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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At least 100 killed, 4,000 injured after massive explosion rocks Beirut

Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, damaging buildings as far as several miles away and injuring scores of people.

Driving the news: At least 100 people have been killed and over 4,000 injured in the blast — and the death toll is likely to rise, the Lebanese Red Cross said, per AP. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the explosions occurred at a warehouse that had been storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for the past six years.