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SeaWorld Entertainment May Soon Be Up For Sale

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., parent company of the SeaWorld and Busch Garden theme parks, has hired investment adviser Evercore to find a potential buyer. Evercore will provide a new perspective on ways to improve the company’s weak operational performance, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Evercore will work with SeaWorld's current financial adviser, JPMorgan.

Attendance at SeaWorld’s parks declined after the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” brought criticism about the treatment of its performing killer whales into the spotlight. SeaWorld is stopping this attraction, but has yet to find a good entertainment formula to attract new visitors. Increased competition in Orlando with Universal and Walt Disney World adding attractions also has plagued SeaWorld, The Street reports. SeaWorld Chief Financial Officer Peter Crage left the company this week.

SeaWorld’s stock price fell 8% Wednesday, closing at $14.07 following the news of a potential sale. Its stock price continued to decline Thursday. When SeaWorld first went public, its IPO price was $27.