NEW YORK (AP) — Looks like Shamu may soon be making a splash in the stock market.
The company famous for water shows featuring killer whales, dolphins and other animals at SeaWorld said Thursday that it is planning to go public. SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. has filed for an initial public offering of stock aimed at raising $100 million. That number is likely to change as the company's bankers gauge interest from investors.
From its origins as a Busch Gardens animal park at Anheuser-Busch's Tampa Budweiser brewery, the company has grown to span 11 theme parks housing 67,000 animals. Besides the three SeaWorld parks, the company owns two Busch Gardens parks and Sesame Place, an amusement park based on the children's TV show Sesame Street.
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 U.S. economy. Still, SeaWorld's revenue has risen in the three years that it's been owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group LP. The company has looked for ways to stay competitive in the current market, branching out this year with a Saturday morning television show, "Sea Rescue," on the ABC network to attract young viewers.
Blackstone is expected to sell some of its stock in the IPO but keep a majority stake, SeaWorld said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. SeaWorld plans to use money raised in the IPO to pay down debt and make a payment to the New York-based firm.
Blackstone bought SeaWorld, formerly Busch Entertainment Corp., from beer brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2009 for $2.3 billion. The Belgian company was shedding assets to help pay for its $52 billion takeover of St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch in 2008.
Anheuser-Busch started Busch Gardens in Tampa in 1959. The beer company bought SeaWorld, whose park opened in San Diego in 1964, in 1989. SeaWorld is now based in the theme park mecca of Orlando, Fla., also home to Walt Disney Co.'s Walt Disney World resort and Universal Studios. More than half of the company's revenue is generated in Florida.
SeaWorld said about 24 million people attended its 11 parks during the 12 months ended Sept. 30. The company did not disclose how that figure has grown or shrank in the past few years, but says it has a "stable attendance base." In the first nine months of 2012, SeaWorld's profit jumped 73 percent to $86.2 million from $50 million a year earlier, as revenue rose nearly 8 percent to $1.16 billion.
Some of the company's competitors have had a difficult climb back from the recession. Amusement park operator Six Flags Entertainment Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009, emerging in mid-2010. It has been growing revenue since then, although it posted a loss in 2011.
SeaWorld, which plans to trade under the ticker "SEAS" on the Nasdaq, did not name a date for its IPO or detail how many shares will be sold, and at what price, in its filing with regulators. But SeaWorld did warn investors of the risks involved with having its animals interact with human visitors, noting that accidents could hurt its parks' reputation and attendance. In 2010, a trainer at its SeaWorld Orlando park was killed by an orca, or killer, whale. Last month an 8-year-old Georgia girl said a dolphin at the same Orlando park bit her hand while she fed the animal as part of an attraction.
Shamu Stadium makes a splash in the stock market
NEW YORK (AP) — Looks like Shamu may soon be making a splash in the stock market.
Community in Brief: 05/25/2013
Sunday School; pancake breakfast;Memorial Day service; and more.Continued ...
FINAL: Beach Bums 4, Rockford 3
A four-run seventh inning powered the Traverse City Beach Bums to a 4-3 win over Rockford at Wuerfel Park Friday night.Continued ...
Prep sports scoreboard: 05/24/2013
A roundup of high school sports results from across northern Michigan:Continued ...
Snyder, Stabenow slated to speak at Helen Milliken service
United States Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Gov. Rick Snyder are among those expected to speak at a Monday, June 3, memorial service for former Michigan First Lady Helen Milliken.Continued ...
Memorial Day: Weather, gas prices and highway enforcement
An annual ceremony to honor veterans has a new location this year. More than 400 people are expected to attend a service Monday at the Grand Traverse Veterans Memorial Park. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the park off 11th Street near Elmwood Avenue.Continued ...
Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre launches 10th year
The Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre launches its 10th Anniversary season Saturday with a "gala" fundraiser at the Oliver Art Center.Continued ...
Traverse City schools officials prepare for bond
Traverse City Area Public Schools officials said they’ve learned from last year’s failed bond campaign and hear loud-and-clear what voters want in a 2013 capital improvement project proposal.Continued ...
Editorial: Fairness in enforcement must apply to meters
The issue: TC increasing Saturday parking meter enforcement. Our view: This can’t be a sometimes proposition.Continued ...
Evansville sweeps Beach Bums
Ever have Otter Pops as a kid? Well, it was just about cold enough to make them Thursday at Wuerfel Park.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 05/24/2013
Not listening?; We have been duped.Continued ...
Runners ready for Bayshore
Aside from the race packet pick-up, scheduled to take place today from 5 until 9 p.m. at Traverse City Central High School, no one would even know that in fewer than 24 hours more than 7,000 runners will have descended on Traverse City for the 31st running of the Bayshore event, which includes a marathon, half-marathon and 10K.Continued ...
Homecoming of sorts for ex-Bum Morrow
It was a good homecoming of sorts for Bryce Morrow. Wednesday’s rain-out allowed him to hang around with former college roommate Jake Sabol, who was the winning pitcher in Traverse City’s 10-0 win Tuesday.Continued ...
Country artist Niemann sings 'good stories'
Country music fan Rachael Warren knows the words to most every Jerrod Niemann tune that hits the airwaves. So the Traverse City woman plans to be front and center when Niemann appears at Ground Zero on Saturday, June 1.Continued ...
Assumed Names: 05/24/2013
Assumed Names filed in Grand Traverse County:Continued ...
Utility cuts trees beyond easements, property owners say
Lynn Tilson is trying to save 374 of her red pines from the chainsaw. Michigan Electric Transmission Company marked the trees for removal, beyond the 50-foot easement Tilson believes the utility has on either side of its power lines.Continued ...
Conservancy offers farmers a shorter-term option for land
For the last 30 summers, Dennis and Barb Dean traveled from their Alaska home to tend to their sweet and tart cherry orchards in Williamsburg.Continued ...
Prep Sports Roundup: Traverse City West tops Gaylord
Traverse City West won a share of the Big North Conference girls soccer title on Thursday after defeating Gaylord 4-0 in the regular season finale. (Plus more)Continued ...
Forum: Time to act now on military sexual assaults
America is facing an epidemic of sexual assaults in our military. The facts are truly frightening.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 05/24/2013
YMCA to host family fun nights; Boating safety class offered June 25; Tigers help promote teen-driving safety. (Plus more)Continued ...
Elk Rapids now has authorized baccalaureate school
Elk Rapids Middle School is being recognized for adopting a world-renowned education style, and other local districts are prepared to follow suit, thanks in part to a $3 million Kellogg Foundation grant.Continued ...
Movie Capsules: 05/24/2013
New this week — Epic: A teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and evil is taking place. Rated PG. (GT9)Continued ...
Night Life Calendar: 05/24/2013
What's happening after dark across northern Michigan:Continued ...
BATA bus struck during three-vehicle accident
A Bay Area Transportation Agency bus was damaged in a three-vehicle collision at the intersection of Three Mile and Hammond Road.Continued ...
Benzie County home destroyed in fire
Benzonia Township Fire Department Chief John Hanmer said units responded to the fire on Thursday at about 11 a.m. He said no one was inside the Cook Road home and the occupants were at work.Continued ...
Eligibility issues cut short TC St. Francis baseball season
St. Francis High School’s baseball team’s season prematurely ended.Continued ...
- Community in Brief: 05/25/2013