Tilman Fertitta Confirms Casino, Restaurant IPO Plans

Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta confirmed reports from last week that he is considering taking parts of his casino and dining businesses public amid strong investor appetite for new equity.

In an interview with CNBC, the businessman said Tuesday that he could list some of its business because “IPOs are so hot right now” and the size of his business, the restaurant industry, and the casino industry are “something that people would want to own.”

Mr. Fertitta owns casino operator Golden Nugget and the Landry’s Inc. dining empire, among other businesses. Bloomberg reported last week that the businessman was mulling taking a “substantial” portion of his gaming and restaurant operations public via an IPO.

According to sources familiar with ongoing listing discussions, the IPO could include several Golden Nugget casinos and a number of Landry’s-owned restaurants and would see the company be valued at several billions of dollars.

Golden Nugget currently operates five casinos in four states, including two in Nevada and one in Atlantic City. As for Landry’s, the multi-brand dining giant incorporates the Landry’s Seafood chain as well as a number of other brands operating under its umbrella.

People close to Mr. Fertitta said that in the event of an IPO the businessman would retain control of his company through a stake of well over 50%.

Being Public Is Fun, Businessman Says

If he takes his business public, Mr. Fertitta could take advantage of the recent rally in equity markets driven by record coronavirus lows this spring. Investors have maintained a strong appetite for initial public offerings after the pandemic hit the deals market.

Landry’s first went public in 1993 but was returned to the private market about a decade ago. Mr. Fertitta told CNBC that he enjoys being public and the “competitiveness of quarter to quarter and year to year.”

He further elaborated that a business could do “bigger deals” and that there is “much more opportunity when you have a stock book.” The businessman pointed out that they have tried several acquisitions in the last six months but lost out to public companies every time because these companies can pay a larger multiple.

Another company owned by Mr. Fertitta, Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG), is taking an alternative route to the stock market. The iGaming and betting operator announced this summer that it would go public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.

The SPAC that GNOG is set to merge with, Landcadia Holdings II, Inc., is too led by Mr. Fertitta. The deal secured regulatory approval in New Jersey late last month. Landcadia shareholders are set to vote on the transaction on December 18 and it is expected to close shortly after.

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