ORLANDO, Fla. - Could Six Flags be looking to buy SeaWorld?
After all, SeaWorld is financially doing better. Attendance and revenue struggled after the release of the documentary "Blackfish," which chronicled the life of Tilikum, an orca that killed a SeaWorld trainer during a performance in Orlando in 2010.
On Monday, new earnings showed that after cutting jobs and pledging to end its animal shows, attendance is back up. Stock increased 88 percent over the past year.
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This week, a theme park blog reported an anonymous source told them Six Flags was looking to buy SeaWorld, which despite its rebound is still $2 billion in debt.
On top of that, it would take another $1.5 billion to buy SeaWorld.
"SeaWorld is not going to go so cheap at this point, because investors say, 'Why should I sell a stock that's grown 88 percent this year?'" said theme park analyst Rick Munarriz.
If the deal were to happen, it could benefit guests if an annual pass would allow people to attend both SeaWorld and any of Six Flags' 16 U.S. theme parks. The nearest Six Flags property is in Atlanta.
SeaWorld also owns Busch Gardens in Tampa.
Munarriz said the deal is unlikely, but there are plenty of reasons it should happen.
"It would be great for Six Flags to have a presence in this very important state," Munarriz said. "It would also be great for SeaWorld to find a way to bridge together with Six Flags to obtain a more global empire to take on Disney and Universal."
SeaWorld shares jumped on Wall Street when the rumor leaked. There has also been a long-running rumor that Merlin Entertainment, which owns Legoland, could buy SeaWorld, but for now, that's also just a rumor.
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