(By Balachander) SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., which is backed by Blackstone, has filed to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering.
The filing with the U.S. federal regulators did not disclose how many shares the company plans to offer or the pricing terms.
SeaWorld Entertainment said it plans to use the proceeds to make a one-time payment to Blackstone to terminate its advisory agreement and for general corporate purposes.
In the 12 months ended Sept. 30, the theme park and entertainment company hosted more than 24 million guests in its theme parks, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Blackstone acquired SeaWorld for $2.7 billion in 2009 from brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev. The private-equity firm also owns a substantial stake in Merlin Entertainments Group, which operates the Legoland theme parks, and certain other investments in the leisure and hospitality industries.
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For the year ended December 31, 2011 and the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2012, SeaWorld had total revenue of $1.33 billion and $1.16 billion, respectively. It earned $19.11 million and $86.24 million for 2011 and the nine-month period in 2012.
SeaWorld, whose brands include SeaWorld, Shamu and Busch Gardens, plans to list its shares under the symbol "SEAS."
As of Sept. 30, SeaWorld had around $1.83 billion of debt.
The United States is the largest theme park market in the world with six of the ten largest theme park operators and 12 of the 25 most-visited theme parks in the world. In 2011, the U.S. theme park industry generated roughly $11.0 billion in revenue, which represented a 3.0 percent compounded annual growth rate since 2003.
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Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Securities and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. are the lead underwriters for the offering.