Cirque du Soleil cuts 3,500 jobs to avoid bankruptcy

Members of the cast from The Beatles' 'LOVE' by Cirque du Soleil perform at the Musi Cares Person of the Year gala honoring Paul Mc Cartney in Los Angeles Calif. on Feb. 10 2012

The Montreal-based entertainment company, which runs six shows in Las Vegas, has struggled to keep its business running amid coronavirus restrictions that started in March, forcing it to lay off about 95 percent of its workforce and temporarily suspend its shows.

Cirque du Soleil, the producer of numerous acrobatic theater shows like La Nouba, which played at Disney World for almost 20 years and the maker of a new show that was scheduled to appear earlier in the year, has filed for bankruptcy, CNN reported Monday. "I look forward to rebuilding our operations and coming together to once again create the magical spectacle that is Cirque du Soleil for our millions of fans worldwide", he concluded. It has only one active show right now, in China.

The entertainment company says the Quebec Superior Court will hear its application for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, and it will seek bankruptcy protection in the USA, per Cirque's press release.

Cirque expects to emerge from the restructuring process as a much leaner entity with about 1,000 employees initially. Touring shows could come back in 2021 if the virus situation allows for it, he said. If granted, Cirque will then seek provisional recognition in the US under Chapter 15 of the Bankruptcy Code. Quebecor Inc. and Cirque founder Guy Laliberte have expressed interest in investing in the company.


Under a confidentiality agreement, Lamarre said he's not at liberty to provide details. "The good news today is that we know that someone is committed to ensure the future of the company".

In May, the Quebec government loaned the struggling Cirque $200 million as it attempted to restructure its finances. The group wants to acquire substantially all of the company's assets for a combination of cash, debt and equity. Its profits were estimated at US$155 million.

The reorganization filing in Canada on Monday included Cirque agreeing to a purchase by its creditors: TPG, Fosun and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec as well as Investissement Quebec as a debt provider, according to the Associated Press. The health crisis led the company to postpone or cancel many of its global shows.

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