Blackstone sells SeaWorld stake to Chinese investment firm

Posted | Contributed by Brian Noble

Over seven years, the Blackstone Group nearly tripled its investment in SeaWorld, the home of Shamu and other killer whales. On Friday, the company sold its stake in SeaWorld to Zhonghong Group, a Chinese investment firm, for about $449 million. The firm’s final return amounted to about $1.7 billion, or 2.7 times its original investment, according to a person briefed on the matter. SeaWorld said that Blackstone sold its remaining 19.5 million shares to Zhonghong at $23 each, or 26 percent more than the closing price Thursday.

Read more from The New York Times.

Several Points:

1) Blackstone made a killing, even with all the bad news re: blackfish. They almost always do. Most of that profit was made back in 2013, not with this sale.

2) Chinese money is looking for a home outside the middle kingdom. Doesn't mean it's smart money. or clean.

3) What this actually means for future investment/governance/etc., is unclear. Usually doesn't turn out well.

4) Good news is that the Seaworld properties (outside Orlando) are worth more as parks than the land they're on. At least until after the next Trough and Peak cycle

Last edited by CreditWh0re,

Here's a great case study on Blackstone's original investment in Seaworld:

Note that it's from 2013, and doesn't cover the $450 million sale of remaining interests in the original post.

Making 2.7 times their initial investment sounds great for them, but it looks like an investment in an S&P index fund between 2009 and now returned about the same. I suspect they were outperforming until 2013-ish and then under-performing after that.


Jeff's avatar

I was gonna say that my 401k started in 2009 made about 2.5x since then, so I wouldn't characterize it as a slam dunk.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Don't forget, as I mentioned, they sold the vast majority of their shares in 2013. Admittedly I haven't gone back and done the math, but are both of you using that date as your endpoint, for the pro-rata amount of shares?

Market has done considerably well from 2013 to present, but that only applies to a fraction of the total shares they owned.

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