Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy after COVID-19 closure

Marco Green
June 30, 2020

Cirque du Soleil, the producer of numerous acrobatic theater shows like La Nouba, which played at Disney World for almost 20 years and the maker of a new show that was scheduled to appear earlier in the year, has filed for bankruptcy, CNN reported Monday.

"For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization", says Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group.

Entertainment companies that depend on large crowds were among the first business casualties of the virus. It has only one active show right now, in China.

The group said the total value of its offer is $420 million.

The company added that given that its resident shows in Las Vegas and Orlando are expected to resume before the rest of the its shows, the artists and show staff of the resident shows division are not affected.

The beloved circus brand, which is headquartered in Montreal but heavily dependent on the Las Vegas market, said today it would seek protection from its creditors under Canadian bankruptcy law. Touring shows could come back in 2021 if the virus situation allows for it, he said. If granted, Cirque will then seek provisional recognition in the US under Chapter 15 of the Bankruptcy Code.

The filing starts the clock on a bidding process for control of a restructured Cirque.

"We know there are probably five other parties that will be interested to make an offer", Lamarre said.

As part of the investment, government body Investissement Québec will provide $200 million in debt financing. Border closures, gathering bans and social distancing regulations have kept us from doing what we all thrive to do for millions of fans around the globe every day.

In exchange for debt restructuring, creditors will receive unsecured debt of US$50 million in addition to owning 45 per cent of the Cirque, which will decrease the current shareholders' stakes. The health crisis led the company to postpone or cancel many of its worldwide shows.

It bought Blue Man Productions in 2017, followed by children's entertainment company VStar Entertainment Group in 2018.

-With assistance from Derek Decloet.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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