An initial public offering would likely include Fertitta’s gaming and dining portfolio, which would be valued at several billion dollars. Fertitta’s ownership of the NBA Houston Rockets would not be part of an IPO, Bloomberg’s sources said.
The desire to go public is a result of improvement in equity markets according to Bloomberg.
“Fertitta has relied on debt to fuel the growth of his companies, which include Golden Nugget casinos and restaurant chains such as Bubba Gump Shrimp and Del Frisco’s,” Bloomberg writes. “The billionaire found himself struggling to keep his empire afloat this year amid the onset of the pandemic and a plunge in oil prices.”
Fertitta reportedly furloughed 40,000 employees across the Golden Nugget and Landry’s umbrellas as the coronavirus pandemic tanked the economy this spring.
The casino mogul received criticism at the time for calling the furloughs a “favor.”
“You’re doing the people a favor if you get them furloughed first because you have them first to unemployment line after the severance that you give them,” he said at the time.
Fertitta borrowed tens of millions of dollars to ride out the pandemic, a move that was considered risky given the short-term outlook for dining and tourism.
Earlier this year Golden Nugget online gaming company merged with a blank-check company ahead of an anticipated IPO.
The deal was recently approved by New Jersey regulators.