Published Jun 29, 2020Montreal's famed Cirque du Soleil has filed for creditor protection after being shut down for months due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement was made today, with the company stating it would be seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act at a hearing in Quebec Superior Court on Tuesday (June 30). If granted, the company will also seek creditor protection in the U.S.
In addition, Cirque announced the official termination of about 3,480 employees, who had been furloughed since March, the Canadian Press reports.
"For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization. However, with zero revenues since the forced closure of all of our shows due to COVID-19, management had to act decisively to protect the company's future," president and CEO Daniel Lamarre said in the statement.
In the announcement, Cirque explained it was entering into a "stalking horse" purchase agreement with Investissement Quebec and existing shareholders TPG, Fosun and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec. The move comes in an effort to "position the company to emerge as a stronger entity," according to a statement from Cirque du Soleil.
Lamarre explained that "five to six groups" are interested in acquiring the company, with a new owner expected to be announced in September. Previously, founder Guy Laliberte stated he hoped to buy back the company and keep its headquarters in Montreal.
In May, the Quebec government loaned Cirque du Soleil $200 million as the company tried to restructure.