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SeaWorld Makes Big Splash in NYSE Debut

  • seaworld logo, seaworld, amusement park


  • seaworld whale, seaworld, amusement park


SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) leapt more than 25% on Friday in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, after the IPO priced at the high end of expectations.

The stock opened at $30.56, up 13% from the $27 offer price. Shares closed at $33.52 and were up slightly in after-hours trading. The company had expected the deal to price from $24 to $27 Thursday, when SeaWorld’s private equity owner, Blackstone Group (BX), revealed it planned to sell more shares than previously announced.

Combined, SeaWorld and Blackstone offered 26 million shares, not including an underwriter’s option. The IPO was valued at $702 million.

SeaWorld owns 11 parks, including Busch Gardens and namesake SeaWorld, and a total of 67,000 animals. The company reported $1.42 billion in revenue last year and a profit of $77.4 million, well above its $19.1 million profit in the prior year.

Blackstone bought the amusement park operator from Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) for $2.3 billion in 2009.

Follow Matthew Rocco on Twitter @MatthewRocco