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11 Oct 2017

Parques Reunidos linked to SeaWorld sale
BY Tom Anstey

Parques Reunidos and Merlin both have reported interest in SeaWorld

Parques Reunidos and Merlin both have reported interest in SeaWorld

Parques Reunidos could be about to make a big splash in the attractions industry after fresh reports linked the Spanish operator with a potential takeover of SeaWorld.

Following reports last week that Merlin Entertainments was also interested in a deal for the company – something Merlin has since denied – Bloomberg cited “people familiar with the matter” who suggest that Parques Reunidos, which operates more than 60 visitor attractions worldwide, is considering a bid.

At this stage it is unclear as to whether the deal would be a full or partial takeover, with Parques Reunidos reported to be considering a “combination” with SeaWorld.

SeaWorld shares rose 3.6 per cent on Tuesday (10 October), giving the company a market value estimated at US$1.3bn (€1.1bn, £986m). Parques Reunidos, by comparison, is worth about US$1.25bn (€1.05bn, £948m).

In addition to its SeaWorld attractions, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment also owns 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.

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 has contacted both Parques Reunidos and SeaWorld for comment.



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