SeaWorld aiming to raise up to $540M in IPO

SeaWorld expects to raise as much as $540 million in IPO; owner Blackstone selling 10M shares

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- SeaWorld, the owner of theme parks famous for water shows featuring killer whales and dolphins, could raise as much as $540 million in an initial public offering of its stock.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. and its owner, the private equity firm Blackstone, hope to sell 20 million shares for $24 to $27 per share, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday. Blackstone Group LP will sell 10 million shares, and SeaWorld will issue 10 million. The banks managing the deal could also buy another 3 million shares, which would raise total proceeds of the deal.

Besides the three SeaWorld parks, the company owns two Busch Gardens parks, several water parks and Sesame Place, an amusement park based on the children's TV show Sesame Street. It had net income of $77.4 million on revenue of $1.42 billion in 2012.

SeaWorld plans to use its share of the IPO proceeds to repay debt and pay a fee to Blackstone, which bought it in 2009 for $2.3 billion. The private equity firm will still have a majority stake in SeaWorld after the IPO.

SeaWorld plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the "SEAS" ticker symbol.

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