Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy protection following forced COVID-19 show closures

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group (Cirque), a world leader in live entertainment, announced Monday it has filed for bankruptcy protection.

This is in response to coronavirus, as the pandemic has forced the cancellation of all shows.

The company took to social media Monday to offer answers and provide support to patrons who may have purchased tickets to upcoming shows.

“As we move forward, we know that you will have questions and we will continue to share information with you. If you already have tickets, these remain valid,” Cirque tweeted.

Cirque is entering a purchase agreement with investors to help restart business and help employees.

Under this proposed purchase agreement, the sponsors will inject $300 million of liquidity into the restructured business 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, including with respect to ticketholders affected by the cancellation of the shows.

“For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization. However, with zero revenues since the forced closure of all of our shows due to COVID-19, management had to act decisively to protect the Company’s future,” Daniel Lamarre, President, and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group said.

The proposed purchase agreement further provides, as part of the US$300 million of liquidity, for the creation of a dedicated $15 million employee fund to provide financial assistance to terminated employees, and a dedicated $5 million contractor fund to pay outstanding company obligations to artisans and freelance artists.

As a necessary part of its restructuring and eventual plans to restart operations, Cirque du Soleil announced critical steps related to employees, including the termination of employment of approximately 3,480 employees previously furloughed in March following the halt in revenue caused by the government-mandated shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” Lamarre added.

With shows in Las Vegas and Orlando expected to resume before the rest of the company’s shows, the artists and show staff of the Resident Shows Division are not affected by this measure and can return as soon as the ban on gatherings is lifted and show operations can resume.

Cirque will provide further updates throughout the restructuring process, as events warrant.

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