Tilman Fertitta, the sole owner of the Rockets, won’t consider minority partners “as a matter of pride,” tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
MacMahon’s note on the Rockets owner comes at a time when Fertitta’s companies have furloughed approximately 70% of their employees, according to Davide Scigliuzzo of Bloomberg. Fertitta, who owns a series of casinos, hotels, and restaurants, said he has had to temporarily lay off approximately 40,000 employees as a result of coronavirus-related shutdowns.
Indicating that he wants to “hire every employee back,” Fertitta expressed confidence that his businesses will survive and even talked about possibly buying back some of the Golden Nugget’s debts when things turn around, per Bloomberg’s report.
Fertitta, who is hoping that restaurants and casinos will soon be permitted to operate at least at partial capacity, said he has been talking to banks about raising as much as $200MM in additional liquidity “as a little bit of insurance,” Scigliuzzo writes.
Selling off part of the Rockets to one or more minority stakeholders at any time since he assumed control of the team in 2017 would have helped provide Fertitta with additional liquidity, but he has long been averse to the idea. In October 2017, shortly after he took the reins in Houston, he indicated he might make an exception for pop star Beyoncé, who had previously considered an investment in the franchise. Otherwise though, he said, “I prefer to own 100 percent.”
Fertitta, who has appeared reluctant to pay the luxury tax since taking over as the Rockets’ owner, figures to be hit particularly hard by the NBA’s loss of revenue this season. Houston was believed to be the team with the most partnerships in China prior to Daryl Morey‘s tweet in support of protestors in Hong Kong, which reportedly cost the team many of those business ties.