A team of economic loan providers is angling to get Cirque du Soleil in a doable bankruptcy reorganization — and they may lover with its charismatic co-founder, The Post has learned.
The cash-strapped circus — which was compelled in March by the coronavirus pandemic to shutter dozens of shows in towns throughout the world — on Monday got a proposal from lenders to inject $300 million into Cirque du Soleil less than a personal bankruptcy restructuring that also would change the company’s $900 million in debt into a 100-percent ownership stake, according to resources close to the problem.
Below the terms of the proposal,, the lenders will rehire nearly 4,700 circus employees — or 95 p.c of the company’s payroll — who were being summarily fired in March, and will maintain the company’s headquarters in Montreal, sources said.
Angling to restart productions in the coming months, the collectors feel they can restore functions to breakeven profitability by the close of up coming calendar year, partly by broadcasting its spectacular functions on Tv set and on-line, resources said.
The creditor group has in the meantime been in talks with Male Laliberte, the former fire eater who, with a ragtag team of road performers, co-launched Cirque du Soleil in the early 1980s. Laliberte became a billionaire when he bought the enterprise to a group led by non-public-fairness business TPG in 2015 — a debt-fueled offer that still left Cirque du Soleil susceptible to the coronavirus disaster, according to critics.
Now, a single supply near to the talks said Laliberte remains a “free agent” and has not however dedicated to a partnership with the creditor group. Yet, late last thirty day period the 60-12 months-outdated clown said in an job interview that following “careful consideration” he was on the lookout to revive the circus “with a terrific workforce.”
“Its revival will have to be accomplished at the suitable price tag. And not at all costs,” Laliberte explained.
The bidding team, which is remaining encouraged by Houlihan Lokey, hopes to get court acceptance to invest in Cirque du Soleil out of bankruptcy by the end of August.
The creditors incorporate Canada-centered Catalyst Money, as nicely as US investment companies Shenkman Capital, Providence Equity’s Profit Avenue Companions and CBAM. The latter is controlled by previous Guggenheim Partners President Todd Boehly’s Eldridge Industries, which owns much more than 20 p.c of the Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as Dick Clark Productions, The Hollywood Reporter, and movie distributor A24.
The give arrived in response to a Monday deadline for bids set by the Montreal-primarily based circus, whose animal-no cost productions ditch lions, tigers and bears in favor of cutting-edge acrobatics, lively musical soundtracks and a storytelling technique.
Other attainable bidders include things like buyout organization TPG. Quebec’s government, loosely partnered with the Texas-centered buyout organization, stated past week it would devote $200 million to hold Cirque working and in the metropolis less than particular ailments.
Nonetheless, insiders be aware the lenders have an edge in the system, as Cirque du Soleil defaulted on a March 31 fascination payment and is now in a forbearance period. Appropriately, any deal have to be permitted by lenders, who have the ability to place the corporation into individual bankruptcy.
“They simply cannot get rid of us with no paying us,” a supply in the lending team explained.
The collectors are earning their move in portion to end TPG — which last month threw J. Crew into Chapter 11 soon after saddling it with personal debt — from reasserting itself and profiting from the personal bankruptcy, sources reported. In March, Cirque du Soleil positioned many of its all over the world trademarks into a various subsidiary. Very last thirty day period, TPG lent $50 million against all those logos to give it a larger say in a restructuring process.
The creditor group on Friday issued an emergency personal loan to Cirque du Soleil changing the $50 million in TPG funding, sources claimed.
Cirque du Soleil did not quickly respond to requests for remark.