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Share prices rise as reports of Merlin's SeaWorld takeover mount
POSTED 06 Oct 2017 . BY Tom Anstey
Merlin Entertainments is considering a bid for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, according to an increasing number of reports.

The eyes of the industry are sharply focused on the possible deal, as shares in the Orlando-based SeaWorld rose 4.6 per cent this week and shares in Merlin also rising 1.8 per cent.

Bloomberg quoted “people familiar with the matter”, who suggested that the UK operator had made a bid to buy part of the US company – though which part remains unknown. The report said SeaWorld has been working with advisers to explore options including a sale, with the company also receiving interest from other possible suitors.

However, Merlin’s corporate policy objects to some of SeaWorld’s main features, with the company opposing the keeping of large marine mammals, dolphins and whales in captivity.

This is not the first time Merlin has had reported interest in SeaWorld properties, with rumours of a Busch Gardens purchase appearing during the summer.

Speaking in August during an earnings call, Merlin’s chief financial officer Anne-Francoise Nesmes was asked if the operator would be interested in a possible takeover of the SeaWorld-owned properties.

“It takes two parties to do a deal," she said. "So we do not know what SeaWorld’s intentions are. But we do believe that those assets are interesting and we could certainly do a lot with them particularly around accommodation.”

Merlin, which has a market value estimated in US$6.1bn (US$5.2bn, £4.7bn), owns more than 100 attractions worldwide, which includes the world’s largest aquarium chain – Sea Life.

In addition to its SeaWorld parks, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment also owns its two Busch Gardens theme parks in Williamsburg and Tampa, the Sesame Place attraction near Philadelphia, five waterparks across the US and Discovery Cove in Orlando. It is developing an orca-free theme park in Abu Dhabi and a second Sesame Place theme park at a location yet to be confirmed.

Earlier this year the Zhonghong Zhuoye Group became SeaWorld’s largest shareholder, with the Chinese investor purchasing a 21 per cent stake in the company. As a result, several Zhonghong executives have since been added to SeaWorld’s management structure – most recently seeing Yoshikazu Maruyama named its new chair – with plans to develop future themed entertainment destinations, including theme parks, waterparks and FECs, in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

SeaWorld has seen its share value drop 25 per cent in 2017 as CEO Joel Manby tries to turn around the company’s public image in the wake of the ongoing backlash from the 2013 documentary Blackfish, where it was alleged to be mistreating its orcas.

Attractions Management has contacted both Merlin and SeaWorld for comment.
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Jobs . News . Products . Magazine
NEWS
Share prices rise as reports of Merlin's SeaWorld takeover mount
POSTED 06 Oct 2017 . BY Tom Anstey
Merlin Entertainments is considering a bid for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, according to an increasing number of reports.

The eyes of the industry are sharply focused on the possible deal, as shares in the Orlando-based SeaWorld rose 4.6 per cent this week and shares in Merlin also rising 1.8 per cent.

Bloomberg quoted “people familiar with the matter”, who suggested that the UK operator had made a bid to buy part of the US company – though which part remains unknown. The report said SeaWorld has been working with advisers to explore options including a sale, with the company also receiving interest from other possible suitors.

However, Merlin’s corporate policy objects to some of SeaWorld’s main features, with the company opposing the keeping of large marine mammals, dolphins and whales in captivity.

This is not the first time Merlin has had reported interest in SeaWorld properties, with rumours of a Busch Gardens purchase appearing during the summer.

Speaking in August during an earnings call, Merlin’s chief financial officer Anne-Francoise Nesmes was asked if the operator would be interested in a possible takeover of the SeaWorld-owned properties.

“It takes two parties to do a deal," she said. "So we do not know what SeaWorld’s intentions are. But we do believe that those assets are interesting and we could certainly do a lot with them particularly around accommodation.”

Merlin, which has a market value estimated in US$6.1bn (US$5.2bn, £4.7bn), owns more than 100 attractions worldwide, which includes the world’s largest aquarium chain – Sea Life.

In addition to its SeaWorld parks, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment also owns its two Busch Gardens theme parks in Williamsburg and Tampa, the Sesame Place attraction near Philadelphia, five waterparks across the US and Discovery Cove in Orlando. It is developing an orca-free theme park in Abu Dhabi and a second Sesame Place theme park at a location yet to be confirmed.

Earlier this year the Zhonghong Zhuoye Group became SeaWorld’s largest shareholder, with the Chinese investor purchasing a 21 per cent stake in the company. As a result, several Zhonghong executives have since been added to SeaWorld’s management structure – most recently seeing Yoshikazu Maruyama named its new chair – with plans to develop future themed entertainment destinations, including theme parks, waterparks and FECs, in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

SeaWorld has seen its share value drop 25 per cent in 2017 as CEO Joel Manby tries to turn around the company’s public image in the wake of the ongoing backlash from the 2013 documentary Blackfish, where it was alleged to be mistreating its orcas.

Attractions Management has contacted both Merlin and SeaWorld for comment.
RELATED STORIES
Warwick Castle set for 80-bed hotel as Merlin submits 10-year masterplan


Merlin Entertainments has revealed its vision for an 80-bedroom hotel at Warwick Castle as part of its long-term masterplan.
Legoland Florida gives 20,000 tickets to kids affected by Hurricane Irma


Merlin’s Legoland resort in Florida is donating 20,000 tickets to children in the state affected by Hurricane Irma, representing the largest ticket giveaway in the park’s history.
Legoland bringing VR coaster racing experience to Florida, Malaysia and Germany parks


Merlin Entertainments has revealed plans to introduce a high-adrenaline virtual reality (VR) experience to rollercoasters in three of its parks.
David D'Alessandro to step down from SeaWorld board as operator names Yoshikazu Maruyama new chair


Further strengthening its ties with China, SeaWorld has elected Zhonghong Zhuoye Group's (ZZG) Yoshikazu Maruyama as its new chair, also naming Donald C. Robinson as its lead independent director.
MORE NEWS
Government focuses on regional growth, with launch of £20m culture fund
Britain's minister for arts, Michael Ellis, has launched a £20m fund for culture, heritage and the creative industries to benefit towns and cities across England.
MuseumNext Europe 2018: Don't deflect responsibility on the issue of diversity
Diversity was among the topics up for discussion at this year's MuseumNext conference in London, with Shaz Hussain, assistant curator at the London Science Museum, telling delegates not "deflect responsibility" on the issue.
National Geographic uses augmented reality to create world's first open-air planetarium in Canada
National Geographic has teamed up with augmented reality provider Aryzon to create the world's first open air planetarium, using AR to project images into the night sky for a unique stargazing experience.
Comcast bid rejected as Fox agrees new merger deal with Disney
The Disney/Fox merger is back on, after Fox accepted a larger Disney offer days after Comcast attempted to hijack the deal.
+ More news   
LATEST JOBS
Groups Sales and Marketing Executive
Royal Horticultural Society
Salary: Circa £25k depending on experience
Job location: Wisley, Woking, UK
Head of Commercial Operations
The Silverstone Experience
Salary: £50,000- 55,000 pro-rata per annum + benefits
Job location: Northamptonshire, UK
Chief Operating Officer
Brooklands Museum Trust Ltd
Salary: £60,000
Job location: Weybridge, Surrey, UK
Commercial Leisure Manager - Coastal Attractions
Denbighshire County Council
Salary: £41,846 — £44,697 (plus up to £8,000 relocation allowance)
Job location: Rhyl, UK
Theming Production Manager
Merlin Entertainments Group
Salary: Competitive
Job location: Staffordshire, UK
Operations Compliance Manager
Chessington World of Adventures
Salary: £26,500 - £29,700
Job location: Chessington, UK
+ More jobs  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2018

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