Blackstone Sells Stake in SeaWorld to Chinese Investment Group

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Blackstone Group, an investment firm, has sold a 21 percent stake in SeaWorld to Zhonghong Group, a Chinese company.

SeaWorld categorized Zhonghong Group as a “diversified holding company focused on strategic growth opportunities in the leisure, tourism, and culture industries.”

SeaWorld Entertainment announced that Zhonghong Group will buy in at $23 per share. Thursday, the company closed at $17.31, and before the opening bell on Friday, increased to $19.69. The deal puts two Zhonghong executives on SeaWorld’s board of directors.

The deal also restricts the Zhonghong Group from selling its interest in SeaWorld for two years. Additionally, Zhonghong Group “cannot acquire more than 24.9 percent of SeaWorld's outstanding shares without the approval of the independent directors of SeaWorld's board.”

The Zhonghong Group has also invested in Monkey Kingdom, a theme park being constructed outside of Beijing. Monkey Kingdom will be a 100-acre park that will cost 1.5 billion dollars and will be themed around “Journey to the West,” which is a 16th-century Chinese novel.

This deal means that Blackstone Group will no longer be a shareholder in SeaWorld and it will lose its seats on the board of directors. Blackstone bought SeaWorld in 2009 and made it a public company in 2013.

Credit: Orlando Sentinel