The embattled theme park operator's move could help resuscitate the brand, and its depressed stock. Fred Katayama reports.
A sea change at SeaWorld. The embattled theme park operator will stop breeding killer whales. So, the 29 orcas there will be the last generation at SeaWorld. The move comes after animal rights activists pressured it, California has barred captive breeding, and attendance has dropped. Stoking a backlash: the 2013 documentary, "Blackfish," which depicted the captivity and exhibition of the orcas as cruel. Sea World said, it's changing along with changes in society. It also announced it's partnering with its long time adversary, the Humane Society of the United States, which praised the move. The moves could help resuscitate SeaWorld's brand, and its stock, which has sunk by more than half since peaking three years ago. Wedbush Securities analyst James Hardiman said, "Maybe the multiple placed on the stock is depressed to a degree that, even if you lose a little bit in revenue, you gain that back in terms of your stock multiples." And SeaWorld may not lose that revenue right away because the killer whale shows will go on, minus some of the theatrics. Orcas can live for several decades.