Cirque du Soleil to be sold to American, Chinese private equity firms

The owner of Cirque du Soleil will not confirm multiple media reports that the sale of the entertainment company has been finalized.

Co-founder Guy Laliberté tells employees they'll be 1st to know about any company sale

Quebec business magnate Guy Laliberté founded Cirque du Soleil with Gilles Ste-Croix and Daniel Gauthier in 1984. Despite media reports the world-renowned entertainment company is being sold, Laliberté has yet to confirm it. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The owner of Cirque du Soleil will not confirm multiple media reports that the sale of the entertainment company has been finalized.

Co-founder Guy Laliberté sent an email to staff on Thursday saying that he had not yet wrapped up the company sale, after CBC/Radio-Canada and other media outlets reported American private equity firm TPG Capital and China's Fosun will buy majority shares in Cirque du Soleil.

CBC/Radio-Canada previously reported that the sale of Cirque du Soleil was pending final approval.

It was also reported that Cirque du Soleil's global headquarters will remain in Montreal even though the entertainment company is being sold to American and Chinese investors.

Laliberté, who founded Cirque du Soleil with Gilles Ste-Croix and Daniel Gauthier in 1984, is expected to retain a minority stake.

Rumours that Quebec pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt has a hand in the sale have not yet been confirmed.

Three weeks ago, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard made a personal appeal to Laliberté, asking him to keep the company in the province.

"I want to tell him that for Quebecers, for the government and for all political parties represented here, it is very important not only that the headquarters remain in Montreal, but that the creative activities should also remain in Montreal," Couillard said on March 26.

Cirque du Soleil is expected to make an official announcement in the coming days.

Laliberté said his employees would be the first to know if and when the company changed hands.

"I will not hide the fact that there are a lot of discussions going on," he wrote.


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