Cirque de Soleil filed for bankruptcy, cuts 3,500 jobs amid pandemic crisis
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group have filed for bankruptcy after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close shows around the world.
In just five months, the company, which over the last three decades has grown to become internationally recognised as one of the best live-entertainment brands, has been crippled by the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Cirque entered a "stalking horse" bid from its largest backers, including a mix of multinational private equity firms from the United States, China and Canada for US$610 million. That offer is intended to be a starting point in an auction to draw other bidders.
The company has also received US $436 million in fresh funding 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," it said in the release.
Cirque is drowning in nearly US$1.45 billion in debt, according to multiple reports. That's becoming increasingly untenable as its productions remain suspended.
"For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization," said Daniel Lamarre, CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group in a release. "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."
Cirque de Soleil was among thousands of entertainment companies which depend on live audiences, to suffer from the impacts of COVID-19. In March, the company laid off more than 3500 employees constituting about 95 per cent of its workforce after 44 productions were cancelled due to social distancing and lockdown orders.
The company also has about 10 shows on tour across the world, including "O," "Michael Jackson One," and "The Beatles LOVE."