Hospitality titan Tilman Fertitta has announced a deal to take his Fertitta Entertainment Inc. company public via a merger with blank check company Fast Acquisition Corp. The deal values Fertitta’s empire, which includes the Landry’s restaurant group and Golden Nugget casinos at $6.6 billion. It’s expected to close in the second quarter of this year.
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Fertitta will remain chairman, president, and CEO of the company, and be its largest shareholder with an approximately 60 percent interest, according to Shanken News Daily, a sister publication of Wine Spectator. The group has five land-based Golden Nugget casinos, and more than 500 outlets overall across restaurant brands including Mastro’s Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s, Houlihan’s, McCormick & Schmick’s, Morton’s, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Rainforest Café.
Fertitta sees going public as an opportunity to raise money for expansion during a difficult time for the industry, when deals can be had. He took Landry’s public once before, in 1993, raising $24 million in new capital that helped fund a decade-long buying spree of other restaurant brands. He took the company private in 2010.
“We were looking at going public at the end of 2019, and then the pandemic happened,” Fertitta explained in an investor call yesterday. “Today is an extremely opportunistic world and there were some huge deals that happened in the gaming industry in the last 18 to 24 months that we didn’t think we could capitalize on without being a public company.”
Comparing the situation with the 2008–’09 financial crisis, Fertitta sees a similar opportunity for expansion as hospitality industry competition is thinned out by the pandemic. “This is when the opportunities are there,” he said.
For more on Fertitta’s outlook for restaurants in 2021 and his plans, read the full article at Shanken News Daily.