Blackstone completes SeaWorld stake exit

A Chinese investment company has completed the acquisition of Blackstone’s interest in the US-based marine park operator for approximately $448m.  

Blackstone has completed the sale of its approximately 21 percent equity interest in SeaWorld Entertainment, the US-based theme park, to a subsidiary of the Beijing-headquartered investment company Zhonghong Zhuoye Group.

The transaction, which was officially completed last week, was done at a price of $23 per share, reflecting a total deal value of approximately $448 million.

The New York asset manager had acquired the entertainment park operator in 2009 for around $2.7 billion from beer brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, following which it took the company public in 2013. According to news reports, the sale has generated a return of about 2.7 times for Blackstone and its investors.

Zhonghong Group is a Shenzhen-listed diversified holding company that has made investments in real estate, tourism and leisure. The deal will pave the way for SeaWorld to evaluate potential development opportunities in the creation of theme parks, water parks and other interactive parks in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau over the next three years, according to a company statement.

Paul Hastings advised Zhonghong Group on the acquisition.

SeaWorld came into spotlight after the 2013 release of the documentary ‘Blackfish’ on the controversial captivity of killer whales.