Tilman Fertitta Rumors
The Rockets have had active/ongoing trade discussions with “more than a half dozen teams,” according to one source close to the situation, and have been communicating with Harden about those options. Harden made it clear to owner Tilman Fertitta before the season that he did not believe in the franchise’s direction and ability to contend and preferred to be traded to a team that was in a better position to win, sources said.
Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta’s plans to take his Golden Nugget restaurant and casino business public appears to be getting the cold shoulder on Wall Street, The Post has learned. The 63-year-old billionaire casino mogul told CNBC last month that he’s looking to list a minority stake in Golden Nugget on a public stock exchange. But Wall Streeters kicking the tires say the debut is no slam dunk due to the company’s staggering $4 billion in debt and its sagging sales.
Before the pandemic hit, Fertitta had been discreetly shopping a stake of up to 49 percent in the Golden Nugget franchise, which boasts five casinos as well as 600 casual dining restaurants, including the Landry’s Seafood, Bubba Gump Shrimp, Morton’s The Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s and the Del Frisco’s steakhouse chains, two sources with knowledge of the situation told The Post.
The problem, sources explained, is that there appears to be little value in Golden Nugget beyond the debt, which stands at about $4 billion — much of it taken in 2017 to finance a $1.4 billion dividend to Fertitta so he could buy the Rockets for $2.2 billion.
The casino mogul wants the money from the IPO to reduce Golden Nugget’s considerable debt and make new investments, sources said. “The idea is he’s wanted to diversify,” a banker familiar with his plans said. He already succeeded last year in paying himself about $300 million in dividends through Golden Nugget, sources said. He’s also refinanced the company so that principal payments aren’t due until October 2023.
Many of the restaurants on the list are old downtown standbys — lots of steakhouses and classic Italian joints, and a few Italian steakhouses — some in team hotels and/or in close proximity to the arena. Rockets owner and restaurateur Tilman Fertitta occupies two of the four spots in foodie-hotbed Houston. Other Fertitta holdings, Morton’s Steakhouse and Del Frisco’s Grille, have multiple locations in the catalog.