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Thursday, September 11, 2014

SEAWORLD Entertainment is in more hot water.
The company (a separate entity to the SeaWorld on the Gold Coast) has been hit with a shareholder lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors about the impact of last year’s Blackfish documentary on attendance and mistreating its famed killer whales.
Last month, SeaWorld shares tumbled 33 per cent in one day after the company warned that the hard-hitting film was hurting attendance at its theme parks.
The film released in July 2013 — just months after SeaWorld’s April 18 initial public offering — made the alleged mistreatment of orcas a national issue and galvanised animal rights activists.
The suit alleges that SeaWorld failed to disclose it had improperly cared for its orca population and continued to feature and breed a whale that had killed and injured numerous trainers.
As a consequence, the company “created material uncertainties and risks” that could impact attendance at its family-oriented parks.
The Blackstone Group, which bought SeaWorld less than five years ago, has reaped about $2.2 billion on its $1 billion investment since December 2009. Blackstone has a 22.5 per cent stake in the aquatic park operator.
Shares of SeaWorld, which went public at $27 a share, traded up slightly Wednesday to $20.70 at 12:30pm in New York.

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