Chinese owner of Abercrombie & Kent takes $430m stake in SeaWorld

Chinese owner of Abercrombie & Kent takes $430m stake in SeaWorld

A Chinese investment firm which acquired Abercrombie & Kent last summer has taken a 21% stake in SeaWorld for almost $430 million.

The shareholding in SeaWorld Entertainment is being acquired by Zhonghong Group from private equity firm Blackstone.

The real estate, leisure and travel company said it planned to take the SeaWorld brand to China as part of a “significant long-term investment”.

SeaWorld, which has 12 theme parks in the US, has suffered since the 2013 CNN documentary Blackfish which suggested that its treatment of killer whales may have led to the deaths of trainers.

As part of the deal announced on Friday, SeaWorld said it would provide advisory services and support for developing theme parks, water parks and family entertainment centres in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, which would be operated by Zhonghong Holding, an affiliate of Zhonghong Group.

SeaWorld will also increase the size of its board to 11, including two executives from Zhonghong Group.

Blackstone, which bought SeaWorld in 2009 for $2.3 billion, has been reducing its stake in the company since taking it public in 2013, Reuters reported.

The firm will no longer have any interests or board seats at SeaWorld after the deal is completed in the second quarter of the year.

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