It is now official. Rumours last week pointed towards Montreal’s Cirque du Soleil being sold off to American and Chinese companies.
Today, Cirque has announced a “new strategic majority partner.” The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but American private equity firm TPG Capital has acquired a majority stake “to fuel growth and take Cirque’s iconic blue and yellow big top to exciting new markets.” In addition, Chinese private equity firm Fosun, Québec pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt, and Québec businessman Mitch Garber have taken a minority interest in the company.
“After 30 years building the Cirque du Soleil brand, we have now found the right partners in TPG, Fosun and the Caisse to take Cirque du Soleil forward to the next stage in its evolution as a company founded on the conviction that the arts and business, together, can contribute to making a better world,” said Guy Laliberté. “Just as importantly, I am thrilled that the investors have demonstrated such a strong commitment to Cirque’s unique Québec cultural heritage and the creativity and imagination of our people.”
Cirque du Soleil was founded Guy Laliberté, Gilles Ste-Croix, and Daniel Gauthier in 1984 and its experiences have been seen by over 150 million people worldwide. Laliberté will continue on with the company as creative advisor and also maintain ownership stake.
The new partnership will seek new ways to earn revenue, expand into in China and other Asian markets, and uncover intellectual property deals to increased licensing, digital media and ticket sales. As part of the agreement, Cirque du Soleil’s headquarters will remain in Montréal.