SeaWorld now hopes for $500 million from IPO
Apr 10, 2013

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is no longer planning to sell SeaWorld through a private sale, they have decided to go ahead with the initial public stock offering (IPO) they had been considering since December. The original thought was that the IPO would raise around $100 million; the target has now been raised to $500 million.

2012 was a good year financially; SeaWorld Entertainment reports a 300 percent profit jump, up to $77.4 million from only $19.1 million in 2011. Revenue for the 10 SeaWorld parks was up 7 percent to $1.4 billion. In spite of higher ticket prices, ticket sales were up 7 percent to $884 million. Attendance for the year grew as well, with more than 24 million visitors entering the company's theme parks. Due to this higher attendance, food and merchandise sales were also up 7 percent, to $540 million.

Despite this, the company has "$1.8 billion in long-term debt and $449 million in equity," so it is likely that the IPO will be used to pay down some of this debt.

Blackstone Group, a private-equity firm, has owned SeaWorld since 2009. The market name would be SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. and trade under the symbol SEAS.