Cirque du Soleil in advanced stake-sale talks with private equity firms

Cirque du Soleil is in advanced talks on selling a majority stake to a consortium of private equity firms in a deal that would value the world's largest theatrical production company at around $1.5 billion, Reuters yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A consortium of CVC Capital Partners and Providence Equity, as well as a another group comprising of TPG Capital and China's Fosun International, are in talks with Cirque du Soleil owner and founder Guy Laliberté in order to close a deal, report said.

But closing the deal is stuck over valuation, because the PE firms have tabled offers valuing the company close to $1.5 billion while Laliberté believes that the company is valued higher, the report said.

The report also added that Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canada's second-largest pension fund, is interested in buying a 10-per cent stake as part of a deal with either of the two consortiums.

Cirque du Soleil, known for its high-quality, artistic entertainment, has been working with Goldman Sachs since last year to find a strategic partner.

Québec-based Cirque du Soleil was founded in 1984 by Guy Laliberté and his friends Daniel Gauthier and Gilles Ste-Croix.

Cirque du Soleil performs in Las Vegas and other resorts employing 4,000 people worldwide, including more than 1,300 artists and nearly 150 million people have seen its shows since 1984.