Landry’s Owner Buys Houston Rockets for $2.2 Billion
Tilman Fertitta, Houston billionaire and owner of Landry’s Inc., is still wheeling. In July, Fertitta won Ignite Restaurant Group chains Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap in a bankruptcy court action. On Tuesday, he opened up the checkbook to the tune of a $2.2 billion for the Houston Rockets, a record-setting purchase for an NBA franchise.
Terms of the sale were not officially disclosed, but were reported by ESPN writer Adrian Wojnarowski.
“This is a life-long dream come true,” Fertitta said in a statement released by the Rockets.
Fertitta, who also owns Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels, has been a season-ticket holder for the team for the past several years, ESPN reported.
According to Forbes, the team was valued at $1.65 million. Wojnarowski said the franchise’s previous owner, Leslie Alexander, received multiple offers that started at $2 billion.
The sale was agreed to Monday and will need to be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors. If it goes through, his Golden Nugget in Las Vegas will have to stop offering betting lines on Rockets games. The Galveston, Texas, native offered $81 million for the team in 1993. Alexander purchased the organization for $85 million.
"He is a Houstonian, business leader and committed to the success and excellence of the Rockets both on and off the basketball court,” Alexander said in a statement.
Fertitta’s purchases have had a nostalgic undertone lately. His company offered $57 million for Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House, which put one of his former assets back under his control. Fertitta owned Joe’s Crab Shack in the 1990s before selling it in 2006 to JCS Holdings LLC for $192 million. The company changed its name to Ignite Restaurant Group and went public in May 2012.
Since, Joe’s Crab Shack has closed more than 40 locations as it heads toward 60 total stores. It had close to 140 locations in 2014.
Fertitta’s Landry’s Inc. operates more than 50 brands, including Morton’s The Steakhouse, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Rainforest Café, and McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks.