×

Billionaire brothers to get massive windfall from UFC sale

Brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta made their first fortune in casinos. But they may have hit their biggest jackpot yet with the sale of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, an organization that promotes mixed martial arts.

The Las Vegas-based Fertitta brothers each held a 40.5 percent stake in UFC's owner, Zuffa. Based on the reported $4 billion deal price, their combined stake would net more than $1.6 billion in cash.

Of course, the company also has unspecified debts and other obligations, so their actual payout will be less — especially after taxes. But sources say the sale of UFC to the talent agency WME-IMG and other partners will still be a 10-figure payday for the two, who bought it for just $2 million in 2000.

Before accounting for the windfall from the deal, Forbes puts the net worth of each of the Fertitta brothers at $1.6 billion; Wealth-X pegs them at $1.8 billion each. Sources close to the brothers say their net worth was already more than twice that.

The UFC sale is the second big cash boost in only three months for the brothers. In April, their casino company Red Rock Resorts raised more than $500 million in an initial public offering, netting them and their families more than $400 million combined.

Red Rock is the successor company to Station Casinos, which was founded by their father, Frank Fertitta Jr., in the 1970s. The company went into bankruptcy in 2009 after the brothers took it private; but after orchestrating a turnaround, Red Rock now has a market capitalization of $2.6 billion.

After their latest deal, the brothers will have even more cash to spend on their next venture. The question is, what will that next venture be?

People close to the Fertittas say Lorenzo is already "deep into the planning stages" on his next project. Media reports suggest the duo could be making a play for the Oakland Raiders, which is considering a move to Las Vegas.

Since NFL team owners can't own casino companies due to the inherent conflict of interest, Lorenzo could wind up as the team owner while Frank concentrates on the casino company. That could mean the Fertitta brothers, so close in their business and personal interests, may have to part ways in their ownership stakes.

The brothers are equal partners in almost all of their ventures. They work out together every morning at 7 a.m., and attend most meetings together (both drinking Diet Dr. Pepper). They also own multiple yachts, planes and major pieces of contemporary art.

Disclosure: Frank and Lorenzo's third cousin in Tilman Fertitta, who fronts CNBC's "Billion Dollar Buyer."