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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sports

BREAKING: Rockets sell for record price to Houston billionaire


Tilman J. Fertitta is set to buy the Rockets for a record breaking $2.2 billion, adding a sports franchise to his business portfolio that already includes Landry’s inc. and Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino.| File photo/The Cougar

After more than a month of searching, the Houston Rockets have found a new owner — and it’s a name all too familiar to the University and the city of Houston.

Tilman J. Fertitta, billionaire CEO of the hospitality company Landry’s inc., has reportedly reached an agreement with current Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander to purchase the team. The franchise was recently valued at $1.65 billion by Forbes, but is expected to sell for a record $2.2 billion.

The Rockets confirmed the sale in a news release this morning which includes includes the operation of the Toyota Center and requires approval of the NBA Board of Governors.

“I am truly honored to have been chosen as the next owner of the Houston Rockets,” Fertitta said in the release. This is a life-long dream come true. Leslie Alexander has been one of the best owners in all of sports, and I thank him immensely for this opportunity. He has the heart of a champion.”

The team originally hit the market on July 17 with Alexander saying he is in no rush to sell the franchise that he purchased in 1993 for $85 million. Alexander bought the team just before the 1993-1994 season, and has surprised both owners and those within the franchise with his decision to sell, according to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarkowski.

Alexander brought a pair of NBA Championships to Houston in his first two years as owner. The New York businessman also brought the WNBA’s Houston Comets to the city in 1997, which proceeded to win championships in the leagues first four seasons.

Fertitta has served as the Chairman on the UH System Board of Regents since 2005.

“Lastly, out of respect for NBA’s approval process, I can say no more other than I am overwhelmed with emotion to have this opportunity in my beloved city of Houston,” Fertitta said.

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