Reuters reported on December 17th that SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the entertainment company controlled by the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, were close to filing for an initial public offering.
On December 27th, the Associated Press and the company itself confirmed that the company filed paperwork to go public with a $100 million Initial Public Offering. As more investors become interested in the company, the number is likely to change according to the company’s bankers.
Blackstone bought Busch Entertainment Corporation back in 2009 from Anheuser-Busch InBev for $2.3 billion according to the company. The purchase included all SeaWorld properties, both Busch Gardens properties and adjacent waterparks. It also included Langhorne, Pennsylvania’s Sesame Place as well as Orlando, Florida’s Discovery Cove. Blackstone is expected to sell some of its stock but is planning to keep a majority stake in the company.
According to the Associated Press and SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, about 24 million people attended the parks the company controls in their fiscal year that ended on September 30th. The parks have stated they have a “stable attendance base”.
SeaWorld will use the money raised on the market to pay down debt and make payments to the Blackstone Group. While the date of sale, how many shares and share asking price is unknown, SeaWorld did state they will be trading under the ticker symbol “SEAS” on the Nasdaq market.
Over the next 3 years we can expect to see many changes occur to the Cedar Point hotel properties. According to a story by toledobalde.com, Cedar Fair will invest in a 3 year $60 million project to upgrade its hotels and beach. The sale proceedings from the recent sale of Knott’s Soak City San Diego to SeaWorld will be used to cover the makeovers of the hotels and beach. The company plans to spend $18- $20 million annually on the project, without disrupting Cedar Fair’s annual capital budget that funds new rides and attractions at other Cedar Fair parks and waterparks.
Matt Ouimet, CEO and president of Cedar Fair, says he believes that the Lake Erie beach that was once sprawling with guests a century ago, can become the same way it used to be. He plans to make drastic changes to some of the hotels as well as refreshments and refurbishing in others. His main goal is to be able to give families of all budgets a nice accommodation. To do this, Mr. Ouimet will ask guests of Cedar Point what they would like to see changed in the hotels and the beach. All answers will be taken into consideration in order to meet the guests standards.
Once the upgrades are completed, two things will be able to happen; new vacation packages will be made available to purchase and more nighttime entertainment will be added. Rick Munarriz, an analyst for the Motley Fool online investor Web site said spending up to $60 million to improve the hotels isn’t likely to pay off right away for Cedar Fair. “But it’s something that needs to get done even though it won’t be major driver of their income,” he said. “It’s a smart move in theory and one what will pay off in time, I believe.”