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SeaWorld Halts Payouts to Shareholders

Troubled water park suspends dividends to investors after stock plummets.

After the value of SeaWorld dividends plummeted 53 percent from 21¢ to 10¢ today, the troubled water park declared that it will suspend payouts to its current shareholders. Furthermore, the drop in dividend value prompted a seven-percent share value decrease. SeaWorld President Joel Manby recommended that shareholders repurchase SeaWorld shares in the short term while saying that the company will “remain disciplined and regularly assess our allocation of capital.” Market analyst Josh Arnold stated that “investors have completely lost faith in the company's ability to execute,” while shareholders have long lost trust in SeaWorld after the company refused to acknowledge the cause behind its plummeting profits—largely a result of the cruelty exposed in the 2013 documentary Blackfish. California governor Jerry Brown recently signed legislation that effectively halts SeaWorld’s ability to breed orcas in captivity and use them for entertainment. All of these factors—in addition to the recent documented deaths of marine animals at SeaWorld—are quickly stacking up against the company, which Arnold predicts will be detrimental to the park in the future. “[SeaWorld] hasn't yet found a way to stop the bleeding,” Arnold says, “even years on from the release of the documentary.” At the close of the stock market today, SeaWorld (SEAS) shares were amongst the biggest losers of the day.

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