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Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy protection

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, the world’s largest producer of contemporary circus and other touring entertainment shows, has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada after more than three months of “zero revenues” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil announced yesterday (29 June) it has applied to restructure its business under Canada’s CCCA (Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act – a process that shields it from creditors, similar to administration in the UK or chapter-11 bankruptcy in the US). Its application will heard today by the Superior Court of Quebec.

The announcement follows a particularly torrid quarter for Cirque, which announced thousands of temporary lay-offs in the early days of the pandemic.

Cirque says it has entered into a court-supervised purchase agreement with shareholders, including Texas-based TPG Capital and China’s Fosun Capital Group, to establish two funds, worth US$20 million, to provide relief to laid-off employees and contractors. (Some 3,480 of the more than 4,500 employees furloughed in March are expected to lose their jobs permanently.)

The ‘sponsors’, which also include state-owned investment company Quebec Deposit and Investment Fund (CDPQ), will additionally inject $300m worth of liquidity in order to restart the restructured business.

“I look forward to rebuilding our operations and coming together once again”

“For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organisation. However, with zero revenues since the forced closure of all of our shows due to Covid-19, management had to act decisively to protect the company’s future,” comments Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group.

Subject to the Superior Court’s approval, the sponsors will also serve as the “stalking horse”, or reserve bidders, in a sale and investment solicitation process (‘SISP’) of Cirque’s assets.

“The purchase agreement and SISP provide a path for Cirque to emerge from CCAA protection as a stronger company. The robust commitment from the sponsors – which includes additional funds to support our impacted employees, contractors and critical partners, all of whom are important to Cirque’s return – reflects our mutual belief in the power and long-term potential of our brand,” continues Lamarre.

“I look forward to rebuilding our operations and coming together to once again create the magical spectacle that is Cirque du Soleil for our millions of fans worldwide.”

 


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TEG in talks with potential buyers

Less than 15 months after its sale to private-equity firm Affinity Equity Partners, a trio of potential buyers are believed to be waiting in the wings to snap up Australian live entertainment group TEG.

The Australian’s media reporter, Jake Mitchell, reports that CTS Eventim and Chinese conglomerates Fosun and Wanda Group have all held talks with Affinity in recent weeks, although the company is not formally for sale. A TEG spokesman confirmed to IQ there is “market interest in TEG”.

TEG is the parent company of Ticketek, Australasia’s largest entertainment and sports ticket agency, as well as self-service ticketing platform Eventopia, promotion business TEG Live, data firm TEG Analytics and the AEG Ogden-operated Sydney SuperDome (21,000-cap.) arena (recently rebranded as the Qudos Bank Arena). In July it acquired Dainty Group, one of Australia’s leading concert promoters.

CTS Eventim and Chinese conglomerates Fosun and Wanda Group have all held talks with Affinity in recent weeks, although the company is not formally for sale

Ticketek claims to have sold over 23 million tickets to more than 20,000 events, and has a database of 12 million consumers.

CTS Eventim is Europe’s biggest primary ticket agency, while Beijing-based Wanda Group and Shanghai-based Fosun have diversified interests in a number of sectors – the former is the world’s largest property developer, and also operates luxury hotels, cinemas and department stores, while the latter is chiefly involved in iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, tourism and sports (it has owned English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers since July).

 


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