Friday, March 27, 2020

Not Tilmann Fertitta....

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."
Galatians 6:7

Silver linings:
Last month, on the Friday before the U.S. stock market recorded its worst weekly plunge since 2008, Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta was beaming.

As he prepared to host an annual Mardi Gras celebration at a beachfront resort outside Houston, business was booming, pushing his personal fortune to more than $5 billion.

A few weeks later -- after the Covid-19 pandemic brought the travel and leisure industry to a virtual standstill -- his casinos and restaurants are shuttered and burning cash, 40,000 of his employees are temporarily out of a job, and a third of his net worth has evaporated.

Few could have predicted the devastating impact that the coronavirus outbreak would have on the global economy. Any business exposed to leisure and entertainment is struggling. Yet Fertitta’s use of financial leverage to build his riches -- including the purchase of a basketball team -- now leaves his corporate empire particularly at risk.


Even the Houston Rockets, which he acquired for $2.2 billion in 2017 by saddling more debt on his other businesses, are sitting idle after the National Basketball Association suspended its season.

“We are doing basically no business,” the billionaire said in the interview. “I think there have been so many people laid off that it could take up to a year later until we are back to normal.”

Debt Damage

Against this backdrop, the nearly $5 billion of junk-rated debt that Fertitta saddled on Golden Nugget -- a holding company for his restaurants and casinos -- has now become an even bigger burden, amplifying the damage caused by every dollar of lost earnings. Junk, or high-yield, ratings are assigned to debt that is at higher risk of default.

Credit-rating company Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Golden Nugget one level to B3 on Tuesday because of the dramatic hit to earnings and rise in key debt ratios expected from the shutdowns imposed to contain the virus. It also warned that further rating cuts could follow if closures last longer than anticipated.

Debt investors are also getting anxious.

Golden Nugget’s bonds are already trading at deeply distressed levels, having plunged more than 50 cents since the beginning of the month. The company’s subordinated notes trade at 45 cents on the dollar, while more senior bonds trade near 49 cents, according to Trace pricing data.

Only two months ago, sentiment in the credit market was so robust that debt investors allowed Fertitta to double the size of a debt-funded dividend he was taking from the company to $200 million. Golden Nugget was also able to lower the interest rate on a $2.4 billion existing loan, which has since tumbled to around 60 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
To which We can only say:

Not Tilmann Fertitta!!!

Tilmann Fertitta, for those who don't remember, is the guy who:

  • As the afore mentioned owner of the Houston Rockets, spent the Fall of 2019 licking the boots of the Chinese government when the Rockets GM expressed support for Hong Kong protestors on Twitter.
    • Note: Considering Fertitta's disgraceful conduct re: China last fall, it would be even funnier if Fertitta ended up being one of the primary casualties of a virus that originated there.
  • Has acted callous at best towards his employees during the current crisis.
Also, fwiw, as Fertitta has worked his way up the list of 'people we don't like' in recent years, we've heard other gossip about Fertitta.  We're not going to pass along unconfirmed stuff.  Suffice to say, however, they're consistent with all of the public information about Fertitta's arrogance and selfishness.

Bottom Line: Nicer guy, couldn't happen, etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.