SeaWorld Plans 2013 IPO

Waterpark franchise profitable, but faces $1.83B debt
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2012 8:32 AM CST

(Newser) – It could be a whale of a deal. SeaWorld Entertainment has filed the paperwork to go public, three years after being bought for $2.3 billion by Blackstone Group, reports the Wall Street Journal. Media reports vary on what the move is expected to raise, with the Journal citing figures of up to $700 million, and AP pegging the number at just $100 million. Regardless, the funds will allow SeaWorld to reduce its $1.83 billion in debt, reports the New York Post. It plans to trade under the ticker "SEAS" on the Nasdaq.

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The company warns that its business is dependent on customers' willingness to spend on leisure and entertainment, which may be a tough proposition in a still-weak US economy. Still, SeaWorld's revenue has risen in the three years that it's been owned by Blackstone, with profit jumping 73% in the first nine months of 2012 to $86.2 million from $50 million a year earlier. Blackstone will continue to own a majority stake in the company, which operates 11 theme parks housing 67,000 animals around the United States. (Read more SeaWorld stories.)

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