Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy protection as COVID-19 cancels shows

Cirque du Soleil files for creditor protection, terminates 3480 jobs

"We know, because of the proposal on the table, that the Cirque is saved", CEO Daniel Lamarre said in a phone interview. Cirque du Soleil laid off 4,679 employees - about 95 per cent of its workforce - on March 19 after shutting down 44 productions to comply with government orders around the world. Investissement Québec will serve as its debt provider under the restructuring.

Almost four months after it suspended its live operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group is filing for bankruptcy.

The move, which was announced on Monday in a statement, means the famous Quebec-based circus and some of its affiliated companies have filed for protection from creditors under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in Quebec Superior Court. It has only one active show right now, in China.

Among the Las Vegas shows impacted by the closing of the theaters were "Mystère" at Treasure Island, "O" at the Bellagio, "Zumanity" at New York New York, "KÀ" at the MGM Grand, "The Beatles LOVE" at The Mirage, "Michael Jackson ONE" at Mandalay Bay and "Blue Man Group". Touring shows could come back in 2021 if the virus situation allows for it, he said.


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. The group wants to acquire substantially all of the company's assets for a combination of cash, debt and equity. Border closures, gathering bans and social distancing regulations have kept us from doing what we all thrive to do for millions of fans around the globe every day.

The company has also received U.S. $436 million in fresh funding to "support a successful restart, provide relief for Cirque du Soleil's affected employees and partners, and assume certain of the company's outstanding liabilities", it said in the release. The health crisis led the company to postpone or cancel many of its global shows.

-With assistance from Derek Decloet.

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