AUA Private Equity sells VStar to PE-backed Cirque du Soleil

AUA Private Equity Partners has sold VStar Entertainment Group, a live entertainment and event promotions company, to Cirque du Soleil, which is backed by TPG Capital. No financial terms were disclosed.


NEW YORK, NY – July 9, 2018 – AUA Private Equity Partners, LLC (“AUA Private Equity”) is pleased to announce that it has consummated the sale of VStar Entertainment Group, LLC (“VStar” or the “Company”), a leading live entertainment and event promotions company with several touring properties, such as PAW Patrol Live!, Cirque Dreams and Discover the Dinosaurs. VStar was acquired by Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group (“Cirque du Soleil”), a Montreal-based, world-renowned global live entertainment provider that has amused over 180 million people in 60 countries with its circus arts performances. The transaction was consummated on July 3rd, 2018.

VStar was formed as a result of AUA Private Equity’s acquisition of Blue Star Media LLC in June 2014, and subsequent acquisition of VEE Corporation in March 2015. In December 2016, VStar acquired South Florida-based Cirque Productions (“Cirque Dreams”), a live family entertainment company that combines European cirque-style performance artistry with American circus arts and Broadway theatrics. Cirque Dreams produces and operates tours and shows in theatres and various popular touristic venues, through partnerships with Norwegian Cruise Line and Gaylord Hotels.

Over the past four years, AUA Private Equity supported VStar in a number of operating initiatives to drive growth and enhance the Company’s management through the addition of experienced executives with significant industry expertise. Under CEO Eric Grilly’s leadership, the Company developed a strategic partnership with Nickelodeon, which transitioned VStar into a key live entertainment touring partner for domestic and international live shows for some of Nickelodeon’s most successful properties, such as PAW Patrol and Bubble Guppies.

As part of its growth strategy, Cirque du Soleil has been looking to diversify its offering into new forms of entertainment, reach new audiences and expand its creative and production capabilities. VStar’s proven track record in small theatrical production will complement Cirque du Soleil’s expertise in large-scale production and global touring. VStar also brings to the Cirque du Soleil franchise a portfolio of shows with exclusive IPs from Nickelodeon, and a distribution network that will help expand its kids and family audiences.

Andy Unanue, AUA Private Equity’s Managing Partner, commented: “We are extremely pleased to have successfully completed the first exit in our Fund. VStar is emblematic of AUA Private Equity’s strategy not only because it reflects our targeted consumer focus, but also because it demonstrates our ability to invest in companies at attractive valuations, build them through investments in infrastructure and management, and create value through operational improvements.” David Benyaminy, lead Partner on the VStar transaction, added: “It has been a privilege to have worked closely with VStar’s management team who were true partners that shared our vision of creating a world-class live entertainment company. We are confident that VStar will be an incredible addition to the Cirque du Soleil platform and will contribute enormously to its growth.”

Disclosure: This document should not be construed as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or investment advisory services, and are intended for informational purposes only. Any offer will be made solely pursuant to a Private Placement Memorandum and Subscription Agreement (“Offering Documents”) to qualified offerees. This document in whole or in part will not form the basis of and should not be relied upon in connection with any investment in any fund. To the extent that statements made in this document summarize provisions of the Offering Documents, they are qualified in their entirety by the terms of such Offering Documents. A copy of the Offering Documents must be reviewed and accepted prior to making a decision to invest in any fund. An investment in any fund may result in loss to an investor. Interests in AUA’s private funds are not offered or sold in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful, until the requirements of the laws of such jurisdiction have been satisfied.

About AUA Private Equity Partners:
AUA Private Equity Partners, LLC is a New York-based, operationally-focused, lower middle-market investment firm providing strategic capital to companies in the consumer products and consumer services sectors with a particular focus on family-owned businesses or companies benefiting from the growth of the U.S. Hispanic population. AUA Private Equity makes equity investments of $15 to $75 million in companies that generate in excess of $5 million in EBITDA. AUA Private Equity currently manages approximately $275 million* of capital.
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