Merlin Entertainments Group Expresses Interest in SeaWorld's Parks

LEGOLAND and SeaWorld could be owned by the same company in the very near future. Indeed, a recent Bloomberg article stated that, according to people familiar with the matter, "U.K. theme-park operator Merlin Entertainments Plc has approached SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. about a potential deal." Although Merlin already showed some interest in buying the Busch Gardens theme parks in the past, this time the company may be willing to purchase a portion of SeaWorld Entertainment.

This wouldn't be the first time Merlin purchases parks that the company hasn't built from scratch. One example would be Gardaland, a theme park located in Italy that was purchased by the company back in 2006. Since then, Merlin introduced some less-than-stellar additions (mostly roller coasters) that clashed with the beauty of the park's original themed areas. Could this happen also to SeaWorld's parks?

One thing is sure: SeaWorld's theme parks would receive major changes, as Bloomberg's article reminds us that "Merlin has a policy of not keeping cetaceans such as whales and dolphins in captivity." Merlin also publicly stated that they are still focused on trying to acquire the Busch Gardens theme parks, which they consider to be “good-quality assets."

It is important to note that SeaWorld also received interest from other possible buyers, but those companies have asked not to be identified as the details regarding their offers are not public at this time.

Not surprisingly, SeaWorld's shares jumped 7% on report of buyer interest (source).

PHOTO: © 2017 SeaWorld Parks & Resorts All Rights Reserved.
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