SeaWorld is tumbling after slicing its dividend

Bob Bryan

SeaWorld shares are sliding after the company cut its dividend.

The beleaguered theme park company said in a press release on Monday that it is lowering its dividend payout to $0.10 per share from $0.21 per share previously. In addition, the board of directors announced that it will no longer issue a dividend after the payment this quarter.

Instead of issuing a dividend, the firm announced it would be "opportunistically repurchasing the company's shares in the open market." The release said that the firm had $190 million to deploy on buybacks stemming from a share repurchase plan approved by the board in 2014.

"We believe our 5-point strategy to stabilize the business to drive sustainable growth is taking hold, and we are optimistic about SeaWorld's long-term future," said SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby in a release on the move.

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"After careful and thorough deliberation, the Board has determined that, consistent with the financial discipline pillar of the company's strategy, the best way to support the long-term development of the business and deliver value to shareholders is to suspend future dividends at this time."

This marks yet another shift for the troubled entertainment company that has been plagued by backlash stemming from the 2013 documentary Blackfish that detailed the firm's treatment of its signature orcas. This has since lead to tumbling attendance, declining profits, and eventually the announcement that SeaWorld will no longer breed the orcas.

SeaWorld's stock fell by 6.15%, to $11.91 a share, in premarket trading on Tuesday as of 8:07 a.m. ET.


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