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Waitr Sells for $308 Million to Houston Rockets Owner

Waitr Sells for $308 Million to Houston Rockets Owner

By Bloomberg

A special purpose acquisition company run by Texas businessman Tilman Fertitta has agreed to buy food delivery startup Waitr Inc. for $308 million.

Landcadia Holdings Inc. is paying Waitr’s backers at least $50 million in cash and the rest in stock in a deal that will bring the food-delivery company public.

Landcadia, which raised $250 million in its IPO in 2016, will change its name to Waitr Holdings Inc. and trade on the Nasdaq after the deal closes later this year. Waitr’s management will remain in place and Fertitta will join its board. When Waitr was in its nascent stage it incubated at The Opportunity Machine in Lafayette.

Fertitta is familiar with the restaurant and hospitality industries. He owns and runs casino operator Golden Nugget Inc. and steakhouse chain Landry’s Inc. The Houston native paid $2.2 billion last year for the Houston Rockets, the highest price ever paid for a National Basketball Association team.

Fertitta’s business track record helped seal the deal for Waitr Chief Executive Chris Meaux, he said in an interview. Meaux says he is also a fan of Fertitta’s restaurants.

"This was certainly not on our radar about how to go public," Meaux said. "It was the intangibles of this deal that made this deal exciting. We felt that this was just the right strategic relationship for us."

Waitr started in late 2013 when there were few players in the food delivery market, Meaux said. That’s changed. Uber Technologies Inc. is delivering restaurant meals now while food delivery app DoorDash Inc. just raised $535 million from SoftBank Group Corp. and other investors.