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SeaWorld Shares Jump Based on Blackfish Oscar Snub

Jan 16, 2014 4:00 pm

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SeaWorld’s initial strategy was to ignore Blackfish and later the company had to start responding. The film was expected to be a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination and the snub is of great relief to SeaWorld.

— Dennis Schaal

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SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. shares rose after “Blackfish,” a documentary critical of the theme-park operator’s treatment of killer whales, didn’t receive an Oscar nomination today.

Shares of the Orlando, Florida-based company, headed for a sixth straight daily advance, climbed 5.5 percent to $32.70 at 11:52 a.m. in New York, after increasing 6.4 percent for the biggest intraday gain in four months.

“Investors overwhelmingly expected ‘Blackfish’ to receive a nomination,” Timothy Conder, a Wells Fargo Securities analyst, said in a research note today. “Investors will now likely return to solely focusing on core fundamentals.”

Conder has an outperform rating on the shares.

SeaWorld, which sold shares to the public in April following a 2009 buyout by the Blackstone Group LP, said on Jan. 13 that it had record attendance at its SeaWorld-branded parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio in the fourth quarter. The company also projected record revenue, of as much as $1.46 billion, for the full year.

“We have great issues with the film,” SeaWorld Chief Executive Officer Jim Atchison said in an interview yesterday on Bloomberg TV. “It’s an activist-driven agenda film. I have to say it hasn’t affected our performance.”

–Editors: James Callan, John Lear

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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