July 6, 2020
Cirque du Soleil, a Montreal, Quebec-based international live entertainment media company, obtained protection under the CCAA on June 30, listing approximately $1.6 billion (USD) in liabilities. Founded in 1984, the company is known for its circus performances, which it performs in custom-built, partner-hosted resident venues and through touring in different cities around the world. Over the past few years, the company has been responsible for the majority of the top 10 live shows in Las Vegas, accounting for almost half of the total Las Vegas box office sales. The company has seen its business operations severely impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has left the company with no other option but to call for an unprecedented halt in activity until the pandemic is controlled. Following the closure of all its shows worldwide, the company's revenue income entirely vanished and the company had no choice but to make significant temporary employee reductions to its nearly 5,000-person staff, impacting 95% of its workforce. Even before the pandemic struck, however, the company was already heavily indebted to its creditors following a series of major acquisitions. While the company hopes to be able to restart its operations as soon as possible, it is currently unable to generate any revenues, thereby preventing it from meeting its obligations as they become due. After carefully considering its options, the company made the difficult decision to terminate the employment of a majority of its employees, including the already laid-off employees. A group of existing investors, with backing from Investissement Québec, the Quebec government's investment wing, has tabled a bid to take over the company, inject $300.0 million (USD), and provide financial support for 3,500 laid-off employees. EY was appointed monitor. Counsel is Stikeman Elliott for the company, Fasken for the monitor, Norton Rose Fulbright for Investissement Québec, McMillan for RBC, the administrative agent for the first lien lenders, and Goodmans for an ad hoc group of first and second lien lenders.