Stock of SeaWorld Entertainment has plunged 31.51 percent this morning (August 13) to $19.18. Earnings per share in the second quarter were 43 cents, down from the 59 cents Wall Street analysts expected. Revenue was down sharply, too, in the quarter.
The company expects revenues to fall 6 percent to 7 percent this year. SeaWorld has been hurt by the documentary Blackfish, which came out about a year ago and called attention to alleged mistreatment of orca whales.
Some egg is coming off my own face. When the stock came out in April of 2013, I thought it shined and stunk like a mackerel in the moonlight. It was loaded with debt because Blackstone Group had taken it over in 2009, and in the process (normal for private equity group takeovers) had piled up debt so the Blackstone folks could be paid a huge dividend. And the stock's valuation measurements compared poorly with stocks of comparable theme park companies.
Further, Blackstone's deal had the smell of dead fish. It had taken over SeaWorld through Cayman Islands financial groups. The Caymans are a tax and secrecy haven that private equity groups use to avoid United States regulations and/or taxes. (Remember Mitt Romney's deals in the Caymans?)
But as many initial public offerings do, SeaWorld stock zoomed from the mid-$20s to the mid-$30s.
I would not be surprised if it has further to go on the downside.