SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., the operator of aquatic amusement parks owned by buyout firm Blackstone Group LP, filed for an initial public offering Thursday.

The Orlando-based company filed to raise $100 million, which is a placeholder used to calculate registration fees and may change, and didn’t say how many shares it will offer or at what price and on what date, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The IPO will be managed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., Barclays Plc and Wells Fargo & Co., the filing shows. Blackstone will keep most of SeaWorld’s voting rights after the IPO and the company’s ticker will be SEAS, the filing said.

Blackstone, the world’s biggest buyout firm, acquired SeaWorld when it agreed in 2009 to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s amusement-park business. SeaWorld’s 11 parks with 67,000 marine and terrestrial animals attracted more than 24 million guests in the 12 months ended September and generated nine-month sales of $1.16 billion at locations including Orlando, Florida, San Diego, California, and San Antonio, Texas, the filing shows.

The company may go public in early 2013 and raise at least $500 million, two people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. They asked not to be named because the information is private.

Debt Repayment

Proceeds from the IPO will be used to pay off some debt, make a one-time payment to an affiliate of Blackstone and for “other general corporate purposes,” according to the filing.

The SeaWorld filing comes a week after Pinnacle Foods Inc., the maker of Hungry Man dinners and Birds Eye frozen vegetables also owned by Blackstone, filed to raise $100 million in a U.S. IPO.

The SeaWorld and Pinnacle IPOs may benefit from higher share-price valuations after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained more than 12 percent this year.

Initial public offerings in 2012 are on track for their worst year since the financial crisis amid lingering economic concerns and Facebook Inc.’s disappointing debut, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Companies such as Archstone Inc., the U.S. apartment landlord, and American International Group Inc.’s airplane-leasing unit pulled planned offerings in favor of private sales.