Montreal-based live entertainment company Cirque du Soleil has closed a sale transaction with its lenders, led by Canadian private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group, and emerged from creditor protection. Reuters previously reported the lenders agreed to acquire Cirque’s assets in settlement of US$900 million in debt and inject US$375 million. With the deal’s close, Catalyst managing director and partner Gabriel de Alba becomes Cirque’s co-chairman.
MONTREAL, Nov. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ – Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group (“Cirque du Soleil,” “Cirque,” or the “Company”), the world’s leading producer of high-quality live entertainment, announces today the successful closing of a sale transaction with its secured lenders (the “Lenders”) and its emergence from creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (“CCAA”) in Canada and Chapter 15 in the United States.
The closing of this recapitalization marks a significant milestone for Cirque du Soleil, as it provides the Company with a solid foundation for a successful relaunch, which includes driving the business through enhanced fan experiences, a concerted drive into new key markets, backed by roll-out plans for cutting-edge new products and licensing opportunities.
Additionally, Cirque du Soleil is pleased to confirm that Daniel Lamarre will remain in position as President and Chief Executive Officer of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, as well as continue to sit on the Company’s Board of Directors. The new owners also agreed to maintain the Company’s headquarters in Montreal.
“I am grateful for the trust our new owners have placed in our management team. I am prepared to contribute, along with the new stakeholders, to build upon the successes of the past, apply discipline to our operations and growth and fulfill our mission to bring Cirque’s extraordinary artistic vision to audiences around the world. Together, we have already begun laying the groundwork for the relaunch of Cirque du Soleil and are excited to enter the next chapter of Cirque’s history,” said Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group.
Board of Directors
As part of this transaction, effective on the date hereof, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group announces the appointments of Jim Murren and Gabriel de Alba as Co-Chairmen of the Board.
Jim Murren was appointed to lead the Nevada COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force by Governor Steve Sisolak. He served on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council and was a member of the Board of Trustees for Howard University. Mr. Murren first joined MGM Resorts International in 1998 as the Chief Financial Officer and served as the former Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International until retiring in 2020. He also served as Chairman of the American Gaming Association and was on the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution. Mr. Murren co-founded the Nevada Cancer Institute, which was the official cancer institute for the state of Nevada until 2013. He was also a founding contributor to Nevada’s first Fisher House which provides housing for military and Veterans’ families. In addition, he has served as a member of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of leading U.S. companies. Mr. Murren received his Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College. His understanding of the business operations and entertainment landscape will help fuel the company’s trajectory of growth and expansion.
“As a company with global opportunities and the ability to grow quickly, it is critical to Cirque’s successful expansion – and to its customers and partners – that we continuously execute on the right strategies. I’ve had the great honor of knowing Daniel Lamarre for many years and I have the utmost confidence in his ability to successfully grow this franchise. I very much look forward to working with the Cirque team and fellow directors to take this truly unique organization to the next level and pave the way to capture further growth opportunities,” declared Jim Murren.
Gabriel de Alba is Managing Director and Partner of the Catalyst Capital Group. He has more than 25 years investing, restructuring and building businesses in the US, Canada, Europe and Emerging Markets. Mr. de Alba acts and has acted as Chairman, Board Member and CEO of multiple Catalyst portfolio companies including Executive Chairman of Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, Chairman and CEO of Cabovisao/ Cable Satisfaction, Chairman of Therapure Biopharma, Chairman of Evolve Biologics, Chairman of GENEBA Properties, Chairman of Frontera Energy and Board Member of Worldcolor. On behalf of Catalyst he has led stakeholder groups in unlocking value including at Hudson Bay/ Saks Fifth Avenue, IMAX Corporation and SFX Entertainment. He brings to the Cirque Board a stellar reputation in the financial and business world.
“Cirque du Soleil is a tremendous company built on artistry, vision and extraordinary entertainment experiences to audiences. The organization has a global opportunity and can achieve great heights, guided by this great management team and the skills and experience of this new Board of Directors,” added Gabriel de Alba. “I am very pleased to co-chair the Board with Jim Murren, whose leadership and knowledge of the industry is unparalleled. I also look forward to working with this energized team on building Cirque du Soleil’s next stage of evolution together with our partners at Soundpoint Capital, CBAM Partners and Benefit Street Partners and the other creditors that are committed to the company.”
“We are honored to have Jim Murren and Gabriel de Alba Co-Chairmen of the Board and look forward to leveraging their deep business knowledge to take the Company to new horizons,” said Cirque’s President and CEO, Daniel Lamarre. “For the past 20 years, Jim has been a true partner and has tremendously contributed to the success of the Company. Likewise, Gabriel, as a skilled investor with significant turnaround experience, will bring to the Company a deep understanding of the Canadian and international business worlds, and his leadership and experience will be invaluable for Cirque’s relaunch.”