Three months after cashing out of Cirque du Soleil, founder Guy Laliberté says he is weighing whether to jump into the looming fight for the circus troupe he founded.
As deep-pocketed private equity funds and Quebecor Inc. weigh offers for the financially-strapped Cirque, Mr. Laliberté wants to see the business end up in stable hands. “As the Cirque faces the biggest challenge of its existence we’re about to see a wrestling match involving a number of players,” the Montreal-based entrepreneur said in an open statement Wednesday. “From my point of view, we’re in for a battle royale. … I am deciding whether or not I’m going to jump into that wrestling ring.”
The famed circus troupe has seen its revenue drop to nearly zero overnight as its live shows were cancelled across the world under government orders prohibiting public gatherings. Some 4,700 Cirque employees have been laid off while a core group of employees tries to plot how to get operations going again.
The cash-strapped entertainment company has now launched a formal search for new capital. Existing shareholders TPG Capital LP, Fosun Capital Group and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec recently put an additional US$50-million into Cirque this month to pay bills that include interest on loans, giving the company a bit of breathing room until it finds a more permanent solution.
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