Paul Hastings has represented China’s Zhonghong Zhuoye Group in acquiring a 21 percent stake in SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment from Blackstone Group for about $448 million. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Latham & Watkins advised Blackstone, while Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as co-counsel to Zhonghong.

After the deal closes in the second quarter of 2017, SeaWorld will increase the size of its board to 11, including two executives from Zhonghong, which has investments in leisure and tourism. Meanwhile, Blackstone will no longer have any interests or board seats at the U.S.-based marine park operator. 

Blackstone, which purchased SeaWorld in 2009 for $2.3 billion, has been reducing its stake in the company since taking it public in 2013, reported Reuters. SeaWorld ceased dividend payments in September, after three years of falling revenues and a loss last year. 

As part of the deal, SeaWorld said it would provide advisory services and support for developing theme parks, water parks and family entertainment centres in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, which would be operated by Zhonghong Holding, an affiliate of Zhonghong Group.  

The Paul Hastings team was led by partners Robert Miller, Jia Yan, David Wang, Stephen Cooke, Scott Flicker and Stephen Harris. Partners Jeanette Chan, Chuck Googe, Claudine Meredith-Goujon oversaw the transaction for Paul, Weiss.