Cirque du Soleil files for creditor protection, terminates 3,480 employees

Marco Green
June 30, 2020

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group have filed for bankruptcy after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close shows around the world.

Cirque du Soleil shows in Austin, Texas, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Montreal, Boston, Tel Aviv, Meloneras, Spain, Munich, Costa Mesa, Denver, and the Australian cities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth have also cancelled.

"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.

However, the Cirque du Soleil has an agreement with the current investors, who will take over the management of the troupe and will invest $ 300 million in the restart of its activities.

The move, which was announced on Monday in a statement, means the famous Quebec-based circus and some of its affiliated companies have filed for protection from creditors under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in Quebec Superior Court. It has only one active show right now, in China, Lamarre said.

Cirque expects to emerge from the restructuring process as a much leaner entity with about 1,000 employees initially.

The firm had to pause production of all of its shows, including six in Las Vegas, back in March. Touring shows could come back in 2021 if the virus situation allows for it, he said. "And within 45 days, we'll know if someone is willing to invest even more".

The Texan fund TPG Capital (with a 60 per cent stake), the Chinese firm Fosun (20 per cent) and the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (20 per cent) will inject US$100 million, while Investissement Quebec will provide a US$200-million loan. The group wants to acquire substantially all of the company's assets for a combination of cash, debt and equity.

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. Its profits were estimated at US$155 million. The health crisis led the company to postpone or cancel many of its worldwide shows.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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