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Jun 2, 2011
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The Street, a Wall Street focused publication, is reporting on rumors that SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment has hired Evercore, a company that specializes in IPOs, acquisitions/sales/mergers, and corporate restructuring. It is unclear what benifits SEAS hopes to gain from Evercore at this time, but what is clear with the company's recent troubled history is that SEAS is willing to do what ever it takes to improve their public image and profits.

Click here to read the full story and feel free to discuss below.
RE: Corporate Restructureing?

Interesting the stock is down nearly a buck for the day at the time of this writing.  (from $15.27 to $14.28).  The lift it got to $15.38 has clearly corrected.  Consider that at the initial IPO back in 2013 the stock sold $27.00  Is has lost, closing in on 50% of its value.

Stock closed down $1.20 to $14.07 (a full 7.86%) for the day.

Considering that "the purpose of finance in business is to increase shareholder wealth[sup]1[/sup]" it is not at all surprising that they are looking to restructure.  What is more telling is a clear lack of confidence on the part of the shareholders.

I will be curious to see what they do.  Given the current layoffs and shrinking budgets, I expect we are past simple austerity measures.  Change of leadership is always an option, but that could be more chaotic than the stock wants.  Leverage buy out is another option albeit a short sighted one.  LBOs are good for shareholders, but usually not much good for anyone else.  If you are unfamiliar the stock goes private as one entity goes on a buying spree and buys everything they can at an artificially inflated price.  This almost always requires financing and thus increases debt.  Inevitably the debt is payed down by selling off parts of the company.  Leverage buy outs were all the rage in the 80s and early 90s but have fallen out of favor lately.  (if this kind of thing interests you check out the movie "Barbarians At the Gate."  It is humorous look at the KKR buy out of RGR-Nabisco in the late 80s)

It is good to see that they are doing this now, before they start creeping up on chapter 11.

[sup]1[/sup]Scott Gibson, Ph.D.; Lecture, William and Mary, January 17th, 2013
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RE: Corporate Restructureing?

halfabee said:
Nice footnote.  That is all.

Always site your sources!! (I actually went back into my notes from grad school to find the right date... Yeah, I'm a nerd)
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RE: Corporate Restructuring?

While he wouldn't be the shortest tenured CEO in a company's history, Mansby has really not had the time and opportunity to turn SEAS around. The theme park business is a slow moving business, you can't make changes overnight. It takes a lot of time to develop new attractions, reformulate existing attractions, and then build them.

I think given the time Mansby has been in his position he has made a lot of changes that we are just now starting to see in the parks, realigning their planned attractions and scrapping some others.
Buyer wanted

I don't recall seeing this on the forum. If another location is more appropriate it won't offend me for it to be moved.

"Will parent of SeaWorld, Busch Gardens put theme park business up for sale?"
RE: Corporate Restructuring?

A re-org does not necessarily mean clear cutting upper management but it is certainly possible. His contract may stipulate a certain level of growth or consequences. Considering what the company has been through, it certainly would have been prudent.
RE: Corporate Restructuring?

whanna said:
"Will parent of SeaWorld, Busch Gardens put theme park business up for sale?"

That Tampa Bay Times article basically restates everything in the original article posted and then just tacks that sentence on the end? I feel like they are grasping at straws coming to that conclusion because there is no additional information that could possibly lead them to that conclusion. I think they just added that bit on to make it relatable to their local readers. All it really does is create confusion and get people into a panic. It would really be no different than the Daily Press putting that exact same sentence at the end of the article or a Pennsylvania paper saying the same about Sesame Place.

I've heard a plethora of rumors over the years ever since In-Bev showed up on the scene that suggested that the Busch parks would be sold off or split off from the SeaWorld parks and it's never happened. I won't say it won't happen as anything is possible, but don't throw a random sentence like that at the end of a publication without something to back that statement up.

And none of this was directed at you Whanna, it's all directed at the Tampa Bay Times.
RE: Corporate Restructuring?

Very interesting development, especially considering the... less than stellar stock performance of late...
RE: Corporate Restructuring?

I have doubts that Busch Parks would be split from SeaWorld parks, but the idea is one that I've heard in the past. Many of you may know that Merlin was owned by The Blackstone Group and is still a large shareholder of Merlin. I believe at the time of SeaWorld's purchase by Blackstone that they were considering rolling SEAS into Merlin like Blackston had done with all of their previous theme park purchases, but Merlin has a very strict company policy prohibiting animal performance.

Speculation at the time thought that that policy was the main reason why Blackstone decided to keep the BEC parks separate from Merlin. Now that both SEAS and Merlin have portions of their ownership traded on stock exchanges they are less under the same umbrella than they were in 2013, but if something like this would occur, Blackstone would really not be loosing any of their properties.

I'm not really sure how Merlin would handle Busch and their large animal operation. I know that they have scaled these operations back in the last couple seasons with cutbacks, but are these reduced operations enough to appease Merlin policies? Merlin does own the SeaLife Aquarium chain and their park Chessington World of Adventures is a Theme Park and Zoological complex so it sounds like they may not have an issue with animal captivity and just their use in performance. I'm not really sure how Chessington compares to Busch Gardens Tampa's operations, but I think it could work.
SEAS Troubles lead to BG sale?

So reading around a bit on some places I came across this:

Recently it became known that Merlin Entertainments would be interested in acquiring Busch Gardens should the opportunity arise. Merlin, the world’s largest attractions company after Disney, would be a natural fit for Busch Gardens. Especially the Tampa park as they could bundle tickets with Legoland, the Orlando Eye, Madama Tussaud’s and SeaLife Aquarium.

Merlin chief financial officer Anne-Francoise Nesmes recently was quoted as saying, “It takes two parties to do a deal so we do not know what SeaWorld’s intentions are but we do believe that those assets [Busch Gardens] are interesting and we could certainly do a lot with them particularly around accommodation, so to us it’s about having the right discussion with a willing partner and making sure we have the right financial return.”

So Merlin Entertainment has been sniffing around and is interested in buying both Busch Garden parks if SEAS decides to sell off properties to help boost the bottom line. A very interesting story to follow right now, especially with Project Madrid on the table, and the height waiver being passed.

The good and bad:
ME only owns LEGOLAND as far as amusement parks in the US, so this purchase would expand their base, meaning they might be looking to really increase their profile. The could mean some new attractions. ME is also great with their themeing at their parks and giving all their rides a "story" to unfold.

ME also has more "thrill" rides than family rides at most their parks, so the worry becomes do they turn BG parks into a thrill park as opposed to a theme park with a good mix of family and thrill rides.

All in all, something to keep an eye on as we move forward.
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RE: SEAS Troubles lead to BG sale?

I honestly was thinking to myself in the past few days because of everything that's transpired over the years that SEAS might go down but BG is probably going to stay and Cedar Fair or someone is going to scoop them up. This is crazy
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RE: Corporate Restructuring?

I wonder how strict their animal performance policy is.

"We would have gone ahead with the deal, but this 'More Pet Shenanigans' show was a step too far."
RE: Corporate Restructuring? - Sale?

ThemeParkUniversity has an analysis of these SEAS Q2 results. Additionally,
The Ledger is actually reporting that Merlin's CFO disclosed that he is interested in some of SEAS assets during their share holder conference call.

TheLedger said:
Merlin’s chief financial officer disclosed the interest during a conference call with analysts Monday. SeaWorld — which owns 12 theme parks and water parks, including the original Busch Gardens in Tampa and a second Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. — released second-quarter results Tuesday morning that showed a $175.9 million loss

TheLedger said:
Meanwhile, Merlin chief financial officer Anne-Francoise Nesmes said during an earnings call Monday it was keeping a close eye on Busch Gardens.

“It takes two parties to do a deal. So we do not know what SeaWorld’s intentions are, but we do believe that those assets (Busch Gardens) are interesting and we could certainly do a lot with them particularly around accommodation. So to us it’s about having the right discussion with a willing partner and making sure we have the right financial return,” Nesmes said.

I really want to continue to be skeptical and maybe that is just the part of me that doesn't want to see the old BEC parks split up. But I guess lets play devils advocate here. What would a sale of the Busch Parks look like? Would they include Sesame Place? What would happen to the Sesame Workshop licence? I am having trouble imagining what a potential Merlin operation of BGW and BGT would look like. I've never been to one of their parks so I don't have any informed opinion of their operations.
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RE: BREAKING: Corporate Restructuring? - Parks Sale?

It looks like warfelg already found the quote from Merlin CFO Anne-Francoise Nesmes. The two threads have been merged together to keep the conversation located in one place.
Shane said:
I really want to continue to be skeptical and maybe that is just the part of me that doesn't want to see the old BEC parks split up. But I guess lets play devils advocate here. What would a sale of the Busch Parks look like? Would they include Sesame Place? What would happen to the Sesame Workshop licence?

This looks to be the answer to your Sesame Place question. It's from the company SEC 2nd Quarter and first half of 2017 (Link) filing. Another not pretty but not devastating report.

"As previously announced, during the quarter the company entered into a license agreement with Sesame Workshop, a New York not-for-profit corporation, which extends the company’s status as Sesame Workshop’s exclusive theme park partner in the United States. Under this agreement, a second Sesame Place theme park is scheduled to open no later than mid-2021 in the U.S., and after the opening of the second Sesame Place, the company will have the option to build additional Sesame Place theme parks in the U.S.

The agreement also makes it possible for Sesame Street characters to continue to appear at the Sesame Street lands inside the company’s Busch Gardens theme parks and SeaWorld theme parks in San Diego and San Antonio, as well as a new Sesame Street land to be built in SeaWorld Orlando by fall 2022".
I wonder if Water Country would go with BGW, or remain with SEAS? Either way it would at a minimum force me to drop platinum passes for the family, since we only have them to visit SWO, BGT, Aquatica and Discovery Cove every November. Obviously it's not a done deal, or even close to it, but there are a lot of moving pieces to consider should this plan actually start to take shape.
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