Guy Laliberte to Give up Controlling Interest in Cirque de Soleil?

4 years ago
Guy Laliberte
15:44
16 Apr

According to still unconfirmed information, billionaire and owner of the probably biggest show on the planet, Guy Laliberte has reached an agreement with several parties to sell his controlling interest in Cirque de Soleil.

In an article from few months back, we've reported about some serious issues that Cirque and its owner have dealing with lately. It seems that the show hit its glass ceiling sometimes in 2011 and things haven't been going well ever since. Faced with the reality, Laliberte and other partners realized that it was time to try and restructure the business model.

The concept of restructuring understood, among other things, a possibility of bringing outside investors with fresh money and fresh ideas, to restore Cirque de Soleil's former glory. Some months later, it seems that Guy was able to find some interested parties, but at the price of giving up a controlling interest in the company.

Laliberte made his intentions officially known late in March, when he put up 80% of his share in the company for sale, with an estimated price of $2 billion. He also expressed his wishes for the new owners to keep the head office, which currently employs some 1,600 people, in Montreal.

Guy founded Cirque de Soleil in 1984, never imagining that it would become as popular as it has; it is estimated that more than 90 million people have seen the show. Unfortunately, the novelty seems to have worn off and if it is to survive and thrive, Cirque will have to undergo some serious changes.

Although Guy was planning to only sell about 20-30% of his share in the company, it seems that something has changed over the course of the last few months, leading to the decision to sell the majority of his stake.

The initial reports indicate that there are three interested parties involved with the agreement: TPG Capital, Fosun Capital of Shanghai China and Caisse de Depot. It would appear that Laliberte was not able to get his asking price of $2 billion and will have to settle for less, but the exact number remains unknown at the time.

Apart from the price, one of the most important things about this deal is whether the head office will stay in Monteral, as moving it would have quite a significant impact on the economy of the region. When Laliberte first announced his intention to sell the controlling interest, Premier Philippe Couillard appealed to Guy to everything in his power to remember his roots and keep the Quebec-based success story in the province.

Whatever happens in the coming months, the fact that Laliberte is no longer in the driver's seat means that some big changes could be in the making. Will they benefit the show or not remains to be seen, but hardly anyone could guess that the things would take this turn in the end, considering how involved Guy is with the Cirque.

Photo: movdata.net


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