Blackstone is planning on selling 15 million of its shares in SeaWorld Entertainment in a secondary public offering. The sale would reduce Blackstone’s ownership stake in SeaWorld from 63% to 46%. SeaWorld launched an IPO last April. Based in Orlando, Florida, SeaWorld is a theme park operator.
Private-equity firm Blackstone Group L.P. plans to trim its ownership stake in SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. by 15 million shares, following the theme-park operator’s public listing in April.
The new stock sale would cut Blackstone’s ownership in the company from 63% to 46%, not including an underwriter option, resulting in SeaWorld no longer being a “controlled company” under New York Stock Exchange governing standards. This change will trigger a requirement that SeaWorld appoint a majority of independent directors within a year after it is no longer a “controlled company,” among other requirements.
SeaWorld also said it is in discussions with Blackstone to potentially buy back 1.5 million of Blackstone’s shares in the company.
In April, SeaWorld and Blackstone offered a combined 26 million shares, not including additional stock allotted to underwriters, valuing the IPO at $702 million. The stock initially priced at $27, at the top of its expected range, and has since risen 18% to $31.81 as of Tuesday’s close.
The Orlando, Fla., company operates 11 theme parks, including two Busch Gardens and three of its namesake destinations. Blackstone bought the business from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (BUD, ABI.BT) for $2.3 billion in 2009.
The company had seen its bottom line improve on increasing revenue over the past few years, though it has faced criticism since killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau’s 2010 death, with renewed attention to the incident following the recently release of the documentary “Blackfish.”
Blackstone shares closed Tuesday at $26.47 and were inactive premarket.