Fort Worth’s TPG leads group to acquire high-flying Cirque du Soleil

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A group led by Fort Worth-based private equity firm TPG Capital agreed to buy high-end circus and entertainment producers Cirque du Soleil for an undisclosed sum.

The Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and China’s Fosun International Ltd. will take minority stakes in the Montreal-based entertainment company, according to a statement released by Cirque du Soleil and TPG on April 20. Quebec businessman Mitch Garber will be part of the investor group and become chairman of the company.

Cirque du Soleil’s founder Guy Laliberté will maintain a stake in the business and will continue to provide strategic and creative input for the company, the statement said.

Fosun, one of China’s leading privately-owned investment groups, will acquire a minority stake via a fund under its management. Fosun and Cirque du Soleil will work to launch and expand in the product in China. Québec businessman Mitch Garber, who has strong business ties to TPG, will also be part of the investor group. Garber will become chairman of Cirque du Soleil, adding expertise and a strong Montréal-community presence to the board of directors.

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“We are excited about the opportunity to bring our global platform of resources and know-how to propel the growth of Cirque’s unique brand, content and capabilities around the world,” said David Trujillo, partner at TPG.

Cirque du Soleil was founded in 1984 and produces such acrobatics shows and performances such as “O” at Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas; “Michael Jackson: One” at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, also in Las Vegas, as well as several traveling shows. The company has about 4,000 worldwide.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as exclusive financial advisor to Cirque du Soleil. Norton Rose Fulbright acted as legal advisor to Cirque du Soleil. Ropes & Gray LLP and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP acted as legal advisors to TPG. McCarthy Tétrault acted as legal advisor to Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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