Wall Street

SeaWorld Files for IPO

How many shares does Shamu get?

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SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. is heading toward open water.

The operator of SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and other theme parks has filed initial paperwork to become publicly traded, three years after a $2.3 billion buyout by private-equity shop Blackstone Group LP.

The deal is expected to raise between $500 million and $700 million, a person familiar with the deal said.

Since Blackstone purchased the company from beer maker Anheuser-Busch InBev NV in late 2009, SeaWorld has recovered from losses. In the first month Blackstone owned the business, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Inc., as the company currently is known, lost $57 million. But in the first nine months of this year, the company earned $86.2 million, up 73% from a year earlier, according to the filing.

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