Cirque du Soleil shells out $66 mln for Blue Man Productions: Reuters

Cirque du Soleil paid US$65.5 million to acquire New York-based Blue Man Productions, the company behind the popular live performance Blue Man Group, according to two sources.

The acquisition was formally announced on July 6, but financial terms were not disclosed.

The purchase price represents a multiple of 16.5 times Blue Man’s last 12 months’ adjusted Ebitda of around US$4 million, made up mostly of cost savings the circus arts entertainment company expects to realize from the acquisition, the sources said.

However, Cirque strips out from the purchase price the value of certain assets including real estate it plans on selling, which brings the multiple down to 10.9 times, one of the sources said. On that basis, the implied valuation is around US$44 million.

Financing was sourced from a US$85 million add-on to the company’s US$635 million term loan due in July 2022 that was arranged last month by RBC Capital Markets. The incremental loan was upsized from US$65 million initially, with the additional proceeds earmarked for general corporate purposes, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Including the new debt, Cirque is now levered 3.8 times first lien and 4.65 times total, based on US$185 million of combined pro forma last 12 months’ adjusted Ebitda, US$710 million in first lien debt and US$860 million in total debt.

That’s up from leverage of 3.5 times first lien and 4.3 times total prior to the purchase, based on around US$181 million of Ebitda, US$625 million in first lien debt and US$775 million in total debt.

Montréal-based Cirque has been majority owned by U.S. private equity firm TPG Capital, Fosun Capital and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec since 2015.

Spokespeople for Cirque du Soleil, TPG and Blue Man Productions declined to comment.

Update: In a July 6 statement, Cirque said the acquisition of Blue Man Productions adds to its audience pool and is in line with a global expansion plan intended to help diversify its offering beyond circus arts.

(Reporting by Andrew Berlin; Editing By Lynn Adler)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)

Photo of Cirque du Soleil performer courtesy of Reuters/Rafael Marchante