Merlin Entertainments has approached SeaWorld Entertainment about a possible investment, as first reported yesterday by Bloomberg. SeaWorld shares spiked in the aftermarket on the news, increasing its market cap at one point to nearly $1.5 billion.
Why it matters: Sea World's reaction to this approach may give some insights into its level of desperation, four years after the critical Black Fish documentary. Reports are that it wants to sell the entire company, but Merlin likely is only seeking the Busch Garden parks given its internal policy against keeping marine mammals in captivity. If it proceeds with Merlin, that means Sea World isn't expecting suitors for the whole package.