Investor consortium buys majority stake in Canada's Cirque du Soleil

A consortium of private equity firms including TPG Capital yesterday struck a deal to buy a majority stake in Canada's Cirque du Soleil in a deal that reportedly values the world's largest theatrical production company at around $1.5 billion.

Under the deal, TPG will hold 60 per cent of the bought out company, Fosun Capital Group, owned by Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd, will hold 20 per cent, Canada's second-largest pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, will hold  10 per cent, and Laliberte's family trust will hold the remaining 10 per cent.

"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 Cirque du Soleil's founder, Guy Laliberté.

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.

Since its beginnings, almost 160 million spectators in over 330 cities and 48 countries have seen a Cirque du Soleil show.

Cirque du Soleil has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Emmy, Drama Desk, Bambi, ACE, Gémeaux, Félix and Rose d'Or de Montreux.

"We are excited about the opportunity to bring our global platform of resources and know-how to propel the growth of Cirque's unique brand, content and capabilities around the world," said David Trujillo, partner at TPG. "We are inspired by Guy Laliberté's imagination and vision, and look forward to working with him and his talented team, as well as the vibrant Montréal creative community."

Guo Guangchang, chairman of Fosun said, "To date, Fosun has established a global prototype for platforms that capture lifestyle trends in China. Building on top of this model, we have an objective to become one of the global leaders in businesses driven by lifestyle needs, which are quickly taking root in China. The performances of Cirque are very attractive and are a standard bearer for the quality content expected by global citizens."