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Cirque du Soleil Sold To Private Equity Consortium

MONTREAL (CelebrityAccess) — Canadian entertainment giant Cirque du Soleil has agreed to a deal that will see the company sold to a private equity consortium led by TPG Capital for $1.5 billion Canadian dollars.

According to Reuters, TPG will own 60 percent of the company, while a unit of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd will hold a 20 percent stake. Another 10 percent of the company will be held by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canada's second largest pension fund and the remaining 10 percent will be retained by Cirque founder Guy Laliberte's family trust.

While the deal could still face regulatory headwinds in Canada, the inclusion of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, may help to pave the way for a successful completion of the sale.

Fosun's participation in the deal also indicates the importance of the developing Chinese market for Cirque's future. Fosun has been making significant investments in Western entertainment companies, including the recent purchase of Club Med and is focused on bringing western entertainment to China.

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring our global platform of resources and know-how to propel the growth of Cirque’s unique brand, content and capabilities around the world,” David Trujillo, a partner at TPG, said in a statement.

Cirque's previous efforts at making inroads into China have fallen flat, including their expensive 2012 production in Macau, which shuttered early due to poor attendance. However, similar contemporary circus productions that have catered more directly to Chinese tastes have succeeded in the region.

Established by street performers in Quebec in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has grown into an entertainment giant, with multiple major productions offering what it describes as "a dramatic mix of circus art and street performance". – Staff Writers