SeaWorld Makes Big Splash in NYSE Debut

By FOXBusiness

SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE: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.

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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 (NYSE: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 (NYSE:BUD) for $2.3 billion in 2009.

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