Guy Laliberté Sells Remaining 10% of Cirque du Soleil

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announced on Monday it had increased its share in the Cirque du Soleil to 20 percent after buying the 10-per-cent stake still held by Cirque founder Guy Laliberté, adding that he will “remain involved in the creative process of the enterprise and retain economic interests” in the entertainment company.

In a statement, Caisse chairman Charles Emond said, “The Caisse intends to continue to support the Cirque in its development projects that have for decades showcased the creativity and expertise of Quebecers.”

Groupe Cirque du Soleil president Daniel Lamarre said “the transaction announced today is excellent news because it will allow an important Quebec investment to be continued.”

Groupe Cirque du Soleil employs 4,900 people — 1,500 of them at the company’s head office in Montreal — and produces about 50 shows annually that tour the world.

“We are happy to strengthen our presence among shareholders of Cirque du Soleil, an iconic entertainment brand with worldwide renown,” Caisse Chief Executive Charles Émond said in a statement. “[We intend] to continue backing Cirque du Soleil in its development projects that have showcased Quebeckers’ creativity and expertise for several decades.”

In June of last year, The Globe and Mail and La Presse reported that Cirque was laying the groundwork for a possible initial public offering as early as 2020 as the storied entertainment company pushes ahead with a global expansion strategy. The company was preparing documentation just to have that option but there is no current plan to proceed with an IPO and no updated timeline, a well-placed source told The Globe Monday.

{ SOURCE: Globe and Mail, The Globe, La Presse }