Tilman Fertitta Rumors
Fertitta says he has spent $400 million on the hotel and adjacent office building. In August he invited Forbes to his headquarters to argue for boosting our estimate of his net worth. For his biggest trophy, Fertitta in 2017 finally bought the NBA’s Rockets (he first acquired a 3% stake in 1983) for a then-record $2.2 billion, raising funds by borrowing against Landry’s. With Landry’s leveraged to the hilt, the pandemic hit. “For four weeks you were just scared to death,” Fertitta recalls. “You can’t save the world, so you’ve got to make tough decisions”—like laying off 40,000 workers. (He says he has since refilled all but 3,000 positions.) “I caught so much shit for it because I was the first one who did it,” he says. Not that he second-guesses himself. “You’ve got to remember, it’s all my money. At other companies CEOs are not so quick, because it’s not theirs.”
This time around, Fertitta could have ended up going broke under $4.6 billion in debt accumulated to build his empire. Instead, he’s getting richer by making use of the era’s hottest financial trend: the special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Thanks to creative SPAC financing and what appears to be some serious self-dealing, Fertitta has already increased his net worth, Forbes estimates, from $4.1 billion a year ago to $6.3 billion today. In December, Fertitta hopes to close on his fifth SPAC deal, the biggest transaction of his career, in which he will offload most of Landry’s holdings, including five Golden Nugget casinos and more than 500 restaurants (and billions in debt), to the rechristened Fertitta Entertainment. If all goes as planned, he’ll end up with a 74% stake, worth some $4 billion, in the new public company and a personal net worth topping $8 billion. (Landry’s restaurant brands include Bubba Gump, McCormick & Schmick’s, the Palm and the Rainforest Cafe.)
Tate was an All-Rookie First Team selection, averaging 11.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 70 games. He quickly established himself as a starter and was one of the few bright spots in a difficult season for Houston. The Rockets will have a $1.78MM team option on Tate for 2022/23. “I’ve been working really hard this summer and my whole goal is just to prove (general manager) Rafael (Stone), (executive) Patrick and (owner) Tillman Fertitta right,” Tate said. “That they did the right thing guaranteeing those contracts. I think that’ll show this year.”
DraftKings has reached an agreement to buy the Golden Nugget’s online gaming business in an all-stock deal valued at $1.56 billion. The acquisition, still subject to the approval of Golden Nugget Online Gaming shareholders, is a huge investment into iGaming. The online casino games are becoming increasingly important for platforms like DraftKings, which sees opportunity beyond just fantasy sports and sports betting. “Our acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming, a brand synonymous with iGaming and entertainment, will enhance our ability to instantly reach a broader consumer base,” DraftKings CEO and chairman Jason Robins said in a statement. “This deal creates meaningful synergies such as increased combined company revenues driven by additional cross-sell opportunities, loyalty integrations and tech-driven product expansion as well as technology optimization and greater marketing efficiencies.”
As part of the deal, DraftKings will form a new holding company (called New DraftKings), which will become the new combined public company for both properties. When the deal closes, that company will be renamed DraftKings. Current shareholders in Golden Nugget Online Gaming will receive a fixed ratio of 0.365 shares in New Draftkings under the deal. Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who owns about 46% of the Golden Nugget online business, will join the DraftKings board and become one of the company’s largest shareholders. He has agreed to a one-year lock-up on his new shares.