SeaWorld spikes on reports that another theme park company wants to buy it

SeaWorld Entertainment, the owner of the SeaWorld amusement parks, was reportedly approached by a UK-based theme park operator about a deal and the stock is jumping in after hours trading.

According to Bloomberg, Merlin Entertainment approached SeaWorld about a possible acquisition. Merlin operates the Legoland theme parks.

SeaWorld is already working with bankers on a possible sale and Merlin is not the only possible buyer to approach the company, Bloomberg said.

The firm and its parks, which combine rides with live animal entertainment, have faced a stretch of difficult years after the documentary “Blackfish” showed the possibly harmful impact of captivity on SeaWorld’s signature orcas.

The backlash to the film contributed to declining attendance and profits. In order to combat this, SeaWorld announced it would no longer breed its orcas and would phase out shows featuring the whales.

In response to the news, shares of SeaWorld spiked at much as 14% in post-market trading. As of 4:36 pm ET, the stock was up just a bit over 4%.

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