Cirque du Soleil files for creditor protection amid COVID-19 woes

  • Cirque du Soleil files for creditor protection amid COVID-19 woes

Cirque du Soleil files for creditor protection amid COVID-19 woes

Cirque du Soleil, which produces 44 shows around the world.including the upcoming Drawn to Life in Disney Springs, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The filing comes three months after Cirque temporarily suspended production of its shows.

"For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization", says Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group.

Under the terms of the proposed Purchase Agreement, the sponsors will inject US$300 million of liquidity into the business' restructure to help a successful restart by providing relief for Cirque du Soleil's affected employees, partners, and current ticket holders. After laying off 95% of its employees in mid-March, the company has also released a statement addressing its employees on "temporary leave".

As part of the restructuring, Cirque said it would lay off 3,480 employees who had been furloughed during the COVID-19 disruptions.

It said it meant to rehire "a substantial majority" of terminated employees, business conditions allowing, once coronavirus-related shutdowns were lifted and operations could resume.

Cirque du Soleil said it had struck a deal to avoid bankruptcy under which its existing shareholders TPG, Fosun and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec will take over the firm's liabilities and invest $300m (£244m) in the business.

The company also said the artists and show staff of resident shows in Las Vegas and Orlando, which are expected to resume before the rest of its shows, would not be impacted by the layoffs.

According to CNN Cirque is almost $1 billion in debt.

The Las Vegas shows that were cancelled included O at the Bellagio, KA at the MGM Grand, The Beatles LOVE at the Mirage, Mystere at Treasure Island, Zumanity at New York-New York and Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay. Impacted employees are meant to be rehired as Cirque du Soleil restarts its business, and mandatory COVID-19 shutdowns are lifted in impacted markets, the company said.

Cirque's application for bankruptcy protection will be heard on Tuesday by the Superior Court of Quebec.