Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta makes Caesars stock buy, per report


Tilman Fertitta, the billionaire Houstonian whose bid to merge with Caesars Entertainment Corp. was rejected last year, has purchased 4.5 million shares in the Las Vegas casino operator, according to a source familiar with deal.

The investment represents less than 1 percent of Caesars' outstanding shares. The stock price closed Friday at $9.40, down from its 52-week high of $13.54.

Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets and CEO of Houston-based Landry's, proposed a merger with Caesars last year that would have put him at the helm of a sprawling global empire.

nder the proposed deal, the Las Vegas company would have absorbed Fertitta's restaurants and Golden Nugget casinos — including debt — in an exchange of stock.

Image: Landry's Inc. CEO Tilman Fertitta sits in the lobby of his new 250-room hotel The Post Oak Hotel. Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Houston. >> Click through the gallery to see all of the things that Fertitta owns.

Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle

Golden Nugget operates five casinos, in Las Vegas, Laughlin, Nev., Atlantic City, N.J., Lake Charles, La. and Biloxi, Miss. Caesars, valued at about $6.6 billion, operates more than 50 casino resorts, including 10 on the Las Vegas Strip. The company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year and its CEO, Mark Frissora, is stepping down.

Citing a source, Bloomberg reported late Friday that Fertitta had purchased 4 million shares in Caesars, citing a source. Fertitta declined to comment.

Activist investor Carl Icahn also owns a stake in Caesars and has been pushing for the sale of the company, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.