Blackstone Group's SeaWorld Files For IPO

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc., controlled by The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX), has filed plans for an initial public offering of common stock on Thursday.

Blackstone Group's SeaWorld Files For IPO

Best known for its famous whale Shamu, the operator of aquatic amusement parks names Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan Securities as the lead underwrites for the offering, Reuters reported. The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) will keep most of SeaWorld’s voting rights after the IPO.

The filing came a week after Pinnacle Foods Inc., the maker of Hungry Man dinners and Birdas Eye frozen vegetables filed to raise $100 million in a U.S. IPO.

The initial public offering has been filed to raise $100 million, while the number of shares and the price range for offering has not been determined by the company yet. The Orlando based company said it plans to use the proceeds to pay The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) a one-time fee to put an end to its advisory agreement as well as to redeem debt.  According to the IPO filing, the company had about $1.83 billion of debt as of September 30, 2012. However, the company did not disclose the name of the exchange it planned to list its stock on.

Earlier this month, the aquatic parks operator was reported to consider raising $500 million to $600 million in the IPO.

SeaWorld may go public in early 2013 and is likely to raise at least $500 million. SeaWorld Entertainment swung to a profit of $19.1 million in 2011 as revenue climbed 11% to $1.33 billion.

It appears that the The SeaWorld and Pinnacle IPOs are likely to benefit from higher share-price valuations after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) gained more than 12 percent this year.

Currently, the Orlando, Florida based company owns 11 theme parks including those with the SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place brands.

The company intends to list the common stock under the symbol “SEAS.”

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