PARKS: Merlin about to dive in on Seaworld?

According to the Financial Times, Merlin Entertainments has approached US-based SeaWorld about a possible acquisition deal.

The approach was first reported by Bloomberg and confirmed to the FT by a source  who believes that Merlin has shown interest in parts of SeaWorld, but that the marine park operator is reluctant to break the business up, preferring instead to find a buyer for the entire business.

SeaWorld, which has a market capitalisation value of $1.22bn, recently replaced its chairman amid falling attendance and revenues, following criticism over its treatment of its whales and orcas.

Earlier this year, private-equity group Blackstone agreed to sell its 21 per cent stake in SeaWorld to a wholly owned subsidiary of China’s Zhonghong Zhuoye Group, in a deal which will bring the brand to China for the first time.

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