New investor at embattled SeaWorld sends shares skyward

NEW YORK: Shares of SeaWorld, which have been cut in half since coming under scrutiny over the killer whales it holds in captivity, are up 12 percent before the opening bell on a big investment from China.

The Orlando, Florida, company announced Friday that Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co., real estate holding company, has acquired a 21 percent stake from Blackstone Group at $23 per share.

SeaWorld's board will increase to 11 members with the addition of Yoshikazu Maruyama, Zhonghong's president of American operations.

Attendance at parks owned by SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. has suffered since the 2013 documentary "Blackfish," which suggested that its treatment of killer whales may have led to the deaths of trainers. It said last year that it would not breed killer whales and stop using them in shows.