San Diego Business Journal

SeaWorld San Diego Parent Firm Files for IPO

Monday, December 31, 2012

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., the Florida-based parent company of SeaWorld San Diego, has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct an initial public offering of stock, which would raise at least $100 million.

The date of the planned offering, as well as pricing and the number of shares the company planned to issue, were not disclosed in its SEC filing. SeaWorld Entertainment is owned by the New York-based private equity firm Blackstone Group, which will likely sell some of its stake but remain majority owner following the IPO.

The filing said IPO proceeds will be used toward repaying company debt, which stood at $1.8 billion as of Sept. 30. The company plans to list under the symbol SEAS.

SeaWorld, with headquarters in Orlando, operates 10 parks nationwide and reported $1.4 billion in sales for the year ending in September. The company recently announced its acquisition of Knott’s Soak City in Chula Vista, which it plans to reopen in the spring as Aquatica San Diego following a renovation.

SeaWorld San Diego, at Mission Bay, recently began work on a multimillion-dollar renovation of its main gate area, which is being transformed into a reef-themed attraction.

— Lou Hirsh