Tilman Fertitta Rumors
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.
Adam Spolane: Eric Gordon recently opened a pizza joint in Indiana and says he’d like to open one in Houston as well. He notes Tilman Fertitta has steakhouses covered, so he figures there is room in the pizza joint lane
Rockets staffers who want to know what Tilman Fertitta is thinking make a point of tuning in to Stephen A. Smith on ESPN. They suspect Stephen A., who has often had Fertitta as a guest (and fawns over him more than anyone else in the media) is Fertitta’s mouthpiece. On February 6, Stephen A. sent strong signals that A) he was close enough to Fertitta to speak for him, and B) Fertitta had little confidence in D’Antoni and Morey.