Houston, Texas. Sept 6th. Leslie Alexander bought the Houston Rockets 24 years ago for $85 million, today he sold the team to restaurant and casino owner Tilman Ferttita for a record $2.2 billion. The deal is the highest amount ever paid for an NBA franchise, a statement said.
“I’ve made this decision after much deliberation with my family and friends, and do so knowing the franchise is in great shape with the players, coaches, and management team in place,” Leslie Alexander said in a statement.
Tilman Fertitta, the chairman and CEO of Landry’s Inc. restaurant corporations, will buy the team for $2.2 billion, a record NBA franchise price. The previous record was $2 billion when Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014.
Fertitta had attempted to purchase the Rockets in 1993, but was ultimately beat out by Alexander. In 1993 Fertitta was trying to buy the Rockets for only $81 million and the team decided to sell to Alexander for $85 million, according to CBS Sports.
Fertitta is a Texas native and has had court side seats to Rockets games for years. The team also gave a statement on the timing of this announcement since it comes right after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. In the statement, the Rockets said, “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,” according to ESPN.
The NBA board of governors will have to approve this before the deal can be made official.
The 73-year-old Alexander bought the franchise for $85 million in 1993. Forbes valued the franchise in February at 1.65 billion US dollars – eighth-most valuable in the league – with revenue of 244 million US dollars. For the Financially minded it means the Houston Rockets are being sold for 35 times EBITDA (earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization) and 9 times revenues. Big EBITDA multiple but lower revenue multiple than Ballmer/ LA Clippers sale.
Photo: Tilman Ferttita
Alexander had success as an owner as the Rockets won NBA titles over the New York Knicks in 1994 and the Orlando Magic in 1995 behind the play of Hakeem Olajuwon.
Just for laughs: The CP3 “curse” continues. Every team Chris Paul has been on has eventually been sold. New Orleans Pelicans/Hornets, NOLA, was sold in 2012, Los Angeles Clippers, LAC was sold in 2014 and now the Houston Rockets. Welcome on board, Chris.