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SeaWorld IPO: Overseas Expansion?

April 19, 2013

“I’m so glad you love Shamu. Do you think they’ll love him in Dubai?”

SeaWorld president Jim Atchison visits the NYSE floor and suggests Shamu may be headed to Dubai, or other disant parts. Which could help explain why there seems to be so much orca breeding going on:

In an interview on Friday, Mr. Atchison gave some hints as to what those plans might be. Currently, SeaWorld Entertainment operates 11 theme parks in the United States, including SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, without a presence overseas.

“We could take our Shamu show in Orlando and probably show it in Malaysia or Abu Dhabi or Dubai,” Mr. Atchison said. “There’s a lot of interest in our brands from overseas.”

He cautioned that there is no “imminent announcement” along these lines.

Though building new theme parks requires capital, Mr. Atchison suggested that such projects could be undertaken in partnership with big investors, such as a sovereign wealth fund, which might add hotels or other structures to the development.

“If you look at these development opportunities, they’re often in connection with other real estate plays,” he explained. “A lot of the development opportunities we have are actually capital-light.”

New parks need whales. And that means breeding, and continuing to roll that Kshamenk AI program forward.

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