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Tilman Fertitta is involved in bidding for the Commanders

Tilman Fertitta spoke at the White House in 2020 during a meeting with restaurant industry executives about the coronavirus. (Evan Vucci/AP)
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Tilman Fertitta, the billionaire business executive who owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets, is involved in the bidding for the Washington Commanders, two people familiar with the situation said Saturday.

Fertitta joins a group of prospective buyers that includes Josh Harris, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

According to one person with knowledge of the deliberations, Fertitta submitted a bid for the Commanders but is not believed to be a front-runner to purchase the franchise from Daniel Snyder. That person described the sale proceedings as being “at a little bit of a standstill” and estimated Fertitta’s bid was for slightly above $5.5 billion.

Another person familiar with the matter said Fertitta is interested in the Commanders and is believed to have visited the team’s training facility in Ashburn.

Representatives for Fertitta did not respond to requests for comment Saturday night.

Jeff Bezos hires investment firm to consider bid on Commanders

Fertitta is the owner and CEO of Fertitta Entertainment Inc., which owns the Rockets, dining and hospitality company Landry’s, and the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casinos. He has an estimated net worth of $8.1 billion, according to Forbes. He purchased the Rockets from Leslie Alexander in 2017 for $2.2 billion.

Harris has visited the Commanders’ facility, two people familiar with the situation said this month. Harris was co-founder of Apollo Global Management and is a general partner of the English Premier League’s Crystal Palace. He is a limited partner in the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. Harris grew up in Chevy Chase and attended the Field School in Northwest Washington.

Harris, who has an estimated net worth of $6.2 billion, according to Forbes, attempted to purchase the Denver Broncos last year but lost the bidding to a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton.

Josh Harris, potential Commanders buyer, visits team’s training facility

Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, hired an investment firm to evaluate his potential bid for the Commanders, two people familiar with the situation said this week. Bezos is working with Allen & Company, a New York-based firm that is prominent in transactions involving professional sports franchises. It handled the two most recent sales of NFL franchises, those of the Carolina Panthers and the Broncos. It remains unclear whether Bezos will make a bid for the Commanders.

The Commanders announced in November that Snyder and his wife, Tanya, the team’s co-CEO, had hired Bank of America to consider possible transactions involving the franchise. The team has not said whether the Snyders will sell all or part of the franchise. Four people familiar with the process said in December they believe a sale of the entire team is the most likely outcome.

The bidding process is taking place as the NFL conducts its second investigation of Daniel Snyder and the team’s workplace, this one being led by attorney Mary Jo White. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia also is investigating allegations of financial improprieties involving the team. The team has denied committing any financial wrongdoing.