Wall Street

SeaWorld Files for IPO

How many shares does Shamu get?


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.