If you’ve seen the documentary Blackfish you’re never going to go to SeaWorld again and wish you never went when you were a kid. That’s a fact. And you might even want to not have anything to do with companies that own shares of SeaWorld stock.
Here’s a nice list of the major holders of SeaWorld stock, both institutional and mutual funds. It will be interesting to see what happens to SeaWorld’s stock in the coming months as traffic to their theme parks and shows slows down or stops entirely. I cringe every time I see a killer whale jumping out of the water like it’s been trained to do knowing it’d much rather be swimming in the open ocean. Click here to see the list at Yahoo Finance.
Blackstone is the largest holder of SeaWorld stock. I’m guessing their PR firms are working overtime to try to figure out how to solve this problem. If killer whales in the open ocean travel nearly 100 miles in a day, how can you keep them in captivity SeaWorld? That’s the big problem among many others that SeaWorld and now Blackstone face. After watching Blackfish, I just don’t know how SeaWorld can turn their “business” around.
Blackstone, which is not mentioned in the film, bought SeaWorld from Anheuser-Busch for $2.3 billion in 2009, paying about $1 billion with cash and having the company borrow to cover the rest. The New York firm fetched about $560 million selling stock in the IPO. Paired with more than $600 million of dividends and fees it collected from SeaWorld prior to and as part of the IPO, according to securities filings, the firm more than made back its cash investment.
Earlier this month Blackstone raised another $520 million selling more of its shares to the public, and about $45 million in a share-buyback agreement with SeaWorld. Blackstone continues to own about 40% of SeaWorld, a stake that is worth about $1 billion based on the current share price. The deal’s profits have spilled over to a broad swath of investors, including public pensions such as the Florida State Board of Administration, the Texas Teachers Retirement System, and California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which have stakes in the buyout fund Blackstone tapped to buy SeaWorld.
Blackstone hasn’t heard complaints from its investors over the matter, said people familiar with the firm. Florida State Board of Administration spokesman Dennis MacKee said the pension manager doesn’t comment on individual holdings and added: “We’re one step removed and don’t know all the details.” Representatives for the funds in Texas and California – two other states in which SeaWorld operates parks — declined to comment.