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SeaWorld goes IPO, PETA invests to gain a voice

April 30, 2013


SeaWorld goes IPO, PETA jumps in

Businesses benefit from selling shares of their company stock by obtaining the amount of capital that they need in order to launch or fund a new project, but that capital comes at a cost. Not only do investors make back their initial investment plus some, they also have a say in determining future plans of the business and can lobby for changes to be made if they don’t like the way the business is performing.

So when PETA purchased shares of SeaWorld when it went public on April 19, it can be assumed that the organization wasn’t doing so because it wanted to see the company grow. PETA took part in SeaWorld’s IPO to gain direct access to the decision makers in the company, and use its shareholder privileges to advocate for animal rights.

The organization purchased 80 shares according to spokesman David Perle, which is the minimum number of shares that must be purchased in order to “attend and speak at annual meetings, and to submit shareholder resolutions asking for policy changes.” This method takes an attack from the inside approach in the hopes that the strategy will be more effective than external protests.

The risk of going public

This is one of the caveats that business owners face when deciding to make their company public. Inviting venture capitalists to invest in a high growth idea has benefits all around, but business owners ultimately have to answer to their shareholders in order to keep them happy and keep those dollars circulating within the business.

If groups of investors come in and aren’t interested in keeping the organization true to its values and mission – it can cause tension between investors and company staff. Examples such as these are why some companies may advocate for remaining private, so that the direction of the company is determined by owners and executives, rather than outside investors.

In the case of SeaWorld, PETA investors plan to get in front of others that have invested in the company and explain their plans to free the “enslaved” killer whales.

Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.

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