Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta is in the process of purchasing the Houston Rockets for a record-setting $2.2 billion, sources confirm to SB Nation. Fertitta is purchasing the team from Leslie Alexander, who announced his intentions to sell the Rockets last month.
Fertitta later confirmed the news on his Twitter account:
Fertitta was born in Galveston, Texas, and Forbes estimates his current wealth at $3.1 billion.
He’s the sole owner of Landry’s Inc.
Fertitta is the Houston-based CEO and owner of Landry’s, Inc., one of the largest restaurant corporations in the United States. From there, his portfolio has expanded to include more than 500 restaurants, Golden Nugget casinos, hotels, and other locations across the country.
Some of the most notable restaurants under his umbrella are Joe’s Crab Shack, Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood & Steaks, and Morton's The Steakhouse.
He has dabbled in sports ownership before
When the Houston Texans joined the NFL, Fertitta was one of the original investors. However, he was forced to sell his ownership stake in 2008 due to the NFL’s rule that owners cannot be involved with gambling companies, such as the casinos that Fertitta owns in cities like Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
In the ’90s, Fertitta also served as an advisory director for the Houston Rockets during the two years that they won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995. He was quickly rumored to be a potential buyer after Alexander announced he would be selling the team last month.
He also bought the naming rights to a seating section in Minute Maid Park, naming it “Landry's Crawford Boxes.”
He’s the star of Billion Dollar Buyer on CNBC.
Billion Dollar Buyer is a reality TV show where Fertitta travels the country trying new hospitality products for his restaurants, casinos, and hotels. He meets with two contestants per episode and, by the end of the episode, will decide if he wants to make any offers or, as he calls them, “a deal of a lifetime.”