Quebec Pension Fund Doubles Stake in Cirque Du Soleil

(Bloomberg) -- Quebec’s pension fund is doubling its stake in Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, buying out founder Guy Laliberté and supporting the company as it emerges from a string of recent acquisitions.

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec’s stake will climb to almost 20% from 10%, the fund said Monday. That puts it on par with Shanghai-based Fosun International Ltd, while private equity giant TPG Capital LP retains its share of roughly 60%. Caisse is Canada’s second-largest pension fund with more than C$326 billion ($246.4 billion) under management.

Caisse’s investment consolidates ownership of the company at a time when the 36-year-old Cirque du Soleil branches out from its original acrobatic shows into new areas of live entertainment. It bought Blue Man Productions in 2017, followed by children’s entertainment company VStar Entertainment Group in 2018. Last year, it added Works Entertainment and its troupe of magicians called the Illusionists to its portfolio, before striking a separate deal to make feature-length films with the company that co-produced the hit “The Lego Movie.“

That buying spree is now on pause as the company uses resources to support the recently bought businesses while adding new shows, Chief Executive Office Daniel Lamarre said in an interview.

“Today our plan is really to optimize the acquisitions we did,” Lamarre said.

Asked about plans to go public, which were reported in local media last year, Lamarre said he doesn’t envision such a move in the short term.

While Cirque du Soleil last month canceled performances of its permanent show in Hangzhou because of the coronavirus outbreak, it won’t face losses as financial risks are born by its local partner, Lamarre said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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