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SeaWorld Entertainment Files For $100 Mln IPO

Theme park and entertainment company SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., majority-owned by private equity giant Blackstone Group L.P. (BX), said Thursday that it has filed to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering of its common stock. The company intends to list its common stock under the symbol "SEAS".

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SeaWorld Entertainment said that following completion of the IPO, affiliates of Blackstone would continue to own a majority of the voting power of all outstanding shares of its common stock.

According to media reports earlier in December, SeaWorld planned to go public in early 2013 and try to raise up to $600 million in the IPO.

Orlando, Florida-based SeaWorld owns or license a portfolio of brands including SeaWorld, Shamu and Busch Gardens. The company owns and operate 11 theme parks, including five of the top 20 theme parks in the U.S. as measured by attendance.

SeaWorld was acquired by Blackstone from Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA (BUD) in December 2009 for up to $2.7 billion.

The company has a large zoological collection with about 67,000 animals, including 28 killer whales. Its parks feature captive orca, sea lion and dolphin shows.

During the 12 months ended September 30, 2012, SeaWorld hosted more than 24 million guests in its theme parks, including about 2.7 million international guests from over 55 countries and six continents.

For the year ended December 31, 2011 and the nine months ended September 30, 2012, the company generated total revenues of $1.33 billion and $1.16 billion, respectively.

SeaWorld plans to use a part of the net proceeds from the offering to redeem its senior notes and also to pay a one-time fee to Blackstone in connection with the termination of the 2009 advisory agreement. The company intends to use the remaining proceeds for other general corporate purposes.

Goldman Sachs & Co. (GS), J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) , Citigroup Inc. (C), BofA Merrill Lynch (BAC), Barclays plc (BCS, BARC.L) and Wells Fargo Securities (WFC) are acting as underwriters to the offering.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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