October 4, 2017 / 10:03 PM / 9 months ago

Merlin Entertainments bids for part of SeaWorld: source

(Reuters) - UK-based theme park operator Merlin Entertainments Plc (MERL.L) has approached marine park operator SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (SEAS.N) about a potential deal, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Stuffed Orca whale toys are displayed for sale as SeaWorld unveils its new Orca Encounter show in San Diego, California, U.S., May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Merlin, which runs Legoland parks worldwide and owns Madame Tussauds, has made a bid for part of SeaWorld, but SeaWorld’s preference is to sell itself whole, the source said.

SeaWorld has also received indications of interest from other parties, the source said.

“We do not comment on speculation or rumors”, SeaWorld said. Merlin could not be reached for a comment outside business hours.

Merlin’s approach for SeaWorld was first reported by Bloomberg earlier on Wednesday.

Shares of Orlando-based SeaWorld were trading up nearly 5 percent after the bell on Wednesday.

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto

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