Cirque du Soleil sells majority stake to foreign investors

U.S.-based private investment firm TPG Capital will acquire a controlling stake in Cirque du Soleil, while China's Fosun Capital Group and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec will take minority stakes.
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Cirque du Soleil on Monday made it official: the Montreal-based entertainment group has sold a controlling stake to American and Chinese investors.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed Monday, but recent press reports have pegged the size of the deal at around $1.5 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, U.S.-based private investment firm TPG Capital will acquire a controlling stake in Cirque du Soleil, while China’s Fosun Capital Group and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, a provincial pension fund giant, will take minority stakes.

Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, who last year initiated a sales process for the company via Goldman Sachs, will also retain a minority stake and become creative adviser to the new owners.

Fosun and TPG will target growth for the company in China and other Asian markets for Cirque du Soleil shows.

TPG has made commitments to ensure the headquarters of Cirque do Soleil, which has around 14 employees, remains in Montreal.

Daniel Lamarre will remain as president and CEO of the company.

TPG, based in San Francisco, also has investments in CAA, STX Entertainment and Univision.

Cirque du Soleil under its new foreign owners is also expected to expand a move into multimedia via film and TV deals that include a joint venture with Bell Media to develop content for TV, film, digital and gaming platforms based around the values of the Quebec-based entertainment company. That agreement also has Toronto prodco marblemedia developing projects for the joint venture.

Cirque du Soleil Media has also partnered with 20th Century Fox to develop live-action primetime scripted TV projects that go beyond Cirque du Soleil live shows to draw on the Quebec-based troupe’s creative vision.

From Playback Daily