Familiar Name Surfaces In Cirque Du Soleil Sale

Mitch Garber named as incoming chair of company

Online gambling industry veteran and CEO of Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Mitch Garber, has been named as the incoming chairman of Cirque du Soleil, the subject this week of an acquisition deal in which TPG-led investors agreed to buy the controlling interest in the company from founder Guy Laliberté (55) for an undisclosed amount, although the enterprise has an estimated value of $1.5 billion.
Commenting on the deal, the Wall Street Journal reported that Texas-based private equity group TPG was at the head of a group of Chinese investors.
"Founder Guy Laliberté will maintain an unspecified stake in the business and act as creative adviser to the company, which will maintain its headquarters in Montreal," a Cirque du Soleil spokesman said.
Reuters reported that the new partners plan to expand into China, as well as push growth plans for the circus troupe in New York and London.
On completion of the deal, TPG will own 60 percent, while a unit of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd will have a 20 percent stake, Cirque founder and ninety percent shareholder Guy Laliberté said.
Fosun, which acquired French holiday group Club Med in February, also bought a 5 percent stake in British travel group Thomas Cook last month.
Canada's second-largest pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, will hold a 10 percent stake, while the Laliberté family trust will keep the remaining 10 percent.
Cirque du Soleil generates revenues of $1 billion annually, and will remain headquartered in Montreal, Canada, CEO Daniel Lamarre said.

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