Golden Nugget Owner Tilman Fertitta Reportedly Weighs IPO of Casinos, Restaurants

Posted on: December 1, 2020, 06:44h. 

Last updated on: December 2, 2020, 08:26h.

Tilman Fertitta is considering an initial public offering of his expansive Golden Nugget gaming and Landry’s restaurant businesses, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.

Fertitta owns and operates five Golden Nugget casinos
Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta pictured above. He is reportedly considering an initial public offering of part of his expansive  businesses. (Image: Bloomberg)

Citing unnamed sources, the report explained the IPO is just at a confidential “discussion” stage. Fertitta has yet to make up his mind, the report adds.

Fertitta owns and operates five Golden Nugget casinos. Two are in Nevada — Las Vegas and Laughlin. One each are located in Atlantic City, Biloxi, Mississippi, and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

He owns Houston-based Landry’s Inc., which includes multiple restaurant brands. Among these are the Landry’s Seafood chain, Bubba Gump Shrimp, and Del Frisco’s.

Others include Devon Seafood, Joe’s Crab Shack, McCormick & Schmick’s, and Morton’s Steakhouse.

The valuation for the possible IPO is in the several billion-dollar range, Bloomberg reported. Under the scenario now being discussed, Fertitta would maintain control after the IPO by keeping over 50 percent, Bloomberg adds.

Fertitta’s holding company, known as Fertitta Entertainment, would not be included in the possible IPO, the Bloomberg report said. Fertitta Entertainment includes the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets.

Tilman Fertitta Faces Struggle

Fertitta’s fortune went from $4.9 billion to $4.1 billion during the pandemic, based on a Forbes report issued in September. Bloomberg said Fertitta earlier this year “found himself struggling to keep his empire afloat … amid the onset of the pandemic and a plunge in oil prices.”

It led him to furlough approximately 40,000 employees in March. In April, he announced he was also borrowing $250 million due to the pandemic at an interest rate upwards of 15 percent.

In an August interview with CNBC, Fertitta said it will take several years for the hospitality and gaming industries to bounce back from the economic damage caused by coronavirus. While his optimistic projection is 2022, he adds it will likely be longer.

In June, Fertitta proposed taking Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG) public. It is going to be achieved via a merger with a blank-check company.

Fertitta and Jefferies Financial Group organized the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Last week, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission approved a license for GNOG.

The approval paves the way for the internet casino operator to merge with the blank-check company and become a publicly traded entity. The transaction still needs to get approval from shareholders, Bloomberg said.

Fertitta Listed as Interested in Sands Las Vegas

Also, after Sands Las Vegas Corp. let it be known it was considering buyers, Macquarie gaming and leisure analyst Chad Beynon mentioned Fertitta as a possible buyer for Sands Convention Center, as well as the Venetian and Palazzo.

Previously, Fertitta was interested in Caesars Entertainment Corp. He was outbid by Eldorado Resorts in a $17.3 billion deal.

He has long coveted a gaming property on the Las Vegas Strip. His Las Vegas holding is located downtown.

In another matter, there has been speculation that the Texas legislature next year will once again attempt to approve casinos in the state during the upcoming session. Sands Las Vegas Corp. CEO Sheldon Adelson has hired 10 lobbyists in Austin, which could be connected to the possible legalization effort. Fertitta is a Houston resident.