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SeaWorld Shares Jump in Stock Debut

A SeaWorld penguin poses next to a NYSE trader's tablet at the launch of SeaWorld's IPO.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
A SeaWorld penguin poses next to a NYSE trader's tablet at the launch of SeaWorld's IPO.

Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment rose Friday in their first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

In the debut, the company's shares, which trade under the ticker "SEAS," opened more than 10 percent higher at $30.56 per share. They were last 14 percent higher in early trade.

The IPO's shares priced Thursday at $27 a share, at the top of the expected $24 to $27 range. The offering consisted of 26 million shares for a total of $702 million. The company will use the money to pay down debt and grow its business.

In a filing Thursday morning, private-equity firm Blackstone Group, which bought SeaWorld in 2009 for $2.3 billion in cash and assumed debt, increased the number of its own shares being sold to 16 million. SeaWorld Entertainment will issue another 10 million shares, and underwriters have an option to sell an additional 3.9 million.

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