Investment firm Blackstone Group has sold its 21 percent stake in SeaWorld to a Chinese company.
The deal with Zhonghong Group gives SeaWorld a path into the growing Chinese tourism market and a partner with experience in theme-park development there.
Zhonghong Group will buy the stock at $23 per share, Orlando-based SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. announced Friday. The stock had closed at $17.31 Thursday and rose before Friday’s opening bell to $19.69. Zhonghong is paying a 33 percent premium on Thursday’s closing price. SeaWorld also agreed to a deal with its new, largest shareholder for licensing and consulting deals for theme-park development in China. Two Zhonghong executives will join SeaWorld’s board.
“SeaWorld’s future is brighter than it was two days ago,” said Dennis Speigel, president of the International Theme Park Services trade group. “You already have Disney in China as well as Universal; now you have SeaWorld.”