Houston Rockets Are Sold to Tilman Fertitta for $2.2 Billion


Tilman Fertitta, speaking at a gaming convention in 2014.

John Fitzhugh/Sun Herald, via Associated Press

The Houston Rockets will be sold for $2.2 billion, the highest price ever paid for an N.B.A. team, said a person with knowledge of the deal who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the sale was not yet completed. The team and the buyer, Tilman J. Fertitta, announced the sale on Tuesday, but did not disclose the price.

Fertitta owns Landry’s, which includes more than 500 restaurants as well as casinos and hotels. He is also the host of a reality show, “Billion Dollar Buyer,” in which he travels around the country visiting small businesses and considering buying them.

The man who will be getting the big check is Leslie Alexander, who bought the team in 1993 for $85 million.

The deal, which also includes the operation of the Toyota Center, requires the approval of the N.B.A.’s board of governors.

In a statement announcing the sale, the Rockets alluded to the recent devastation in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey, saying, “It is truly unfortunate that this announcement is occurring amidst the aftermath of one of the biggest tragedies in the history of our great city.” Fertitta is a native of nearby Galveston.

The big price came in part because the Rockets are a stable and successful franchise, which won 55 games last season, led by a superstar, James Harden. It is also based in the country’s fourth-largest city.

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