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BYLINE: John D. Boyd
Fortress Investment Group - a private equity firm once better known for its real estate and hedge fund holdings - is close to owning a $7 billion rail empire.
Shareholders of Interpool - an intermodal equipment leasing company - and Florida East Coast Industries will vote on takeover offers from Fortress this month. If all goes as expected, Fortress could soon complete a $3.5 billion acquisition of FECI and absorb Interpool for about $2.4 billion. When those companies are added to its $1.1 billion takeover early this year of short line giant RailAmerica, Fortress will have put together a $7 billion portfolio in the freight sector in less …