A group of Cirque du Soleil creditors have solidified their place as the next owners of the circus in a deal that would end Quebec’s long-standing presence as a stakeholder in the 36-year-old troupe.
Documents filed in the Superior Court of Quebec under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act say interested parties had until Tuesday to submit a rival offer.
Cirque spokeswoman Caroline Couillard says the company has not received a bid that tops the US$1.2-billion deal with its secured lenders.
Led by Toronto-based Catalyst Capital Group, about a dozen creditors that hold US$1.1 billion in Cirque’s secured debt made their proposal last month.
It established a baseline bid that set the minimum conditions for any rival proposals.
Cirque’s three current shareholders — TPG Capital, Chinese firm Fosun and the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec — had presented a US$420-million bid — now rejected — when Cirque filed for creditor protection in June.
The Montreal-based Cirque, which originated as a troupe of fire-breathers and stilt-walkers, is on the verge of losing the last Quebec-based shareholder, the Caisse, in one of the province’s signature cultural brands.
Co-founder Guy Laliberté sold off his remaining shares to the Caisse for US$75 million in February just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit North America.
Since then, the Quebec pension fund has written down its US$170-million total investment in the company to zero.
Deprived of income since mid-March due to fallout from the coronavirus, Cirque has cancelled its 44 shows and cut nearly 3,500 employees.