Leslie Alexander purchased the Houston Rockets in 1993 for $85 million. Tuesday it was announced that he’s selling the team for $2.2 billion. And no Beyhive, Beyonce is not the new owner.
That distinction goes to Tilman Fertitta – a man who first attempted to buy the Rockets in 1993, when Alexander beat him to it. Fertitta is the billionaire owner of Golden Nugget Casinos and the restaurant chain Landry’s, parent company to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Landry’s Seafood – which includes two favorite L.A. dining hot spots, Mastro’s and Catch – plus hosts Billion Dollar Buyer on CNBC
In the Rockets, Fertitta gets a team loaded with talent for the future including James Harden and recently-traded Chris Paul, who hasn’t dipped below .500 since 2006, and has been in the playoffs the last five seasons.
This isn’t the first time Fertitta ventured into team ownership; he was an original investor in the Texans in 2008, but had to let go of his stake because his casino ties broke an NFL rule against involvement with gambling companies.
Sports and millions run in the family, Fertitta’s cousins, Lorenzo and Frank sold the UFC for $4 billion in 2016.
In a written statement, Alexander said that he is “excited to welcome and pass the torch to Tilman,” adding that Fertitta is “committed to the success and excellence of the Rockets both on and off the basketball court.”
In the same statement, Fertitta called Alexander “one of the best owners in all of sports,” and noted that buying the Rockets “is a life-long dream come true.”
Les Alexander recently pledged to donate $10 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.