San Diego Business Journal

SeaWorld’s IPO Goes Well

Monday, April 22, 2013

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., which operates a big division here, made a nice splash on Wall Street when its initial public offering jumped 24 percent to $33.52, giving the company a market capitalization of about $3 billion.

The Orlando, Fla.-headquartered company raised about $700 million in the IPO that debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in which 26 million shares were issued at a starting price of $27. Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, which owned SeaWorld, retained 10 million shares, now traded under the ticker SEAS.

Blackstone acquired SeaWorld from Anheuser Busch/ InBev SA in 2009 for $2.3 billion. SeaWorld San Diego was founded in 1964.

The company owns 11 amusement parks including SeaWorld San Diego at Mission Bay, and Aquatica, formerly owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment which operated it under the name Soak City in Chula Vista. Last year SeaWorld Entertainment generated about $1.4 billion in revenue.

SeaWorld San Diego’s has total employment of about 4,000, mostly part-time temporary workers.

— Mike Allen