MONTREAL — A group of Cirque du Soleil creditors have solidified their place as the next owners of the circus in a deal that would end Quebec’s long-standing presence as a stakeholder in the 36-year-old troupe.
Documents filed in the Superior Court of Quebec under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act say interested parties had until Tuesday to submit a rival offer.
Cirque spokeswoman Caroline Couillard says the company has not received a bid that tops the US$1.2-billion deal with its secured lenders.
Led by Toronto-based Catalyst Capital Group, about a dozen creditors that hold US$1.1 billion in Cirque’s secured debt made their proposal last month.
It established a baseline bid that set the minimum conditions for any rival proposals.
Cirque’s three current shareholders — TPG Capital, Chinese firm Fosun and the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec — had presented a US$420-million bid — now rejected — when Cirque filed for creditor protection in June.
The Montreal-based Cirque, which originated as a troupe of fire-breathers and stilt-walkers, is on the verge of losing the last Quebec-based shareholder, the Caisse, in one of the province’s signature cultural brands.
Co-founder Guy Laliberte sold off his remaining shares to the Caisse for US$75 million in February just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit North America.
Since then, the Quebec pension fund has written down its US$170-million total investment in the company to zero.
Deprived of income since mid-March due to fallout from the coronavirus, Cirque has cancelled its 44 shows and cut nearly 3,500 employees.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2020
The Canadian Press