Cirque du Soleil seeks creditor protection, but CEO remains optimistic

Acrobats perform in Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria in Montreal in April

The filing said that the move was "in response to huge disruption and forced show closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic".

Impacted employees are meant to be rehired as Cirque du Soleil restarts its business, and mandatory COVID-19 shutdowns are lifted in impacted markets, the company said.

Cirque du Soleil has filed for creditor protection as the company grapples with financial hardships during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and looks to restart its business.

The Montreal-based company, which has about U.S. $1.6 billion in debt and other liabilities, requested protection through the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in Canada on Monday afternoon.

The filing comes three months after Cirque du Soleil temporarily suspended production of its shows, including six in Las Vegas alone.

In March, the company laid off more than 3500 employees constituting about 95 per cent of its workforce after 44 productions were cancelled due to social distancing and lockdown orders.

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The robust commitment from the sponsors - which includes additional funds to support our impacted employees, contractors and critical partners, all of whom are important to Cirque's return - reflects our mutual belief in the power and long-term potential of our brand.

In the statement, Cirque du Soleil added it is entering a "stalking horse" agreement with its existing shareholders TPG, Fosun and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec as part of its applications.

Cirque requested protection through the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act on Monday afternoon.

"We know, because of the proposal on the table, that the Cirque is saved", CEO Daniel Lamarre said in a phone interview.

The CCAA is a Canadian Federal Act that allows large corporations to restructure their finances and avoid bankruptcy, while allowing creditors to receive some form of payment for amounts owed to them.

Cirque du Soleil, the producer of a number of Las Vegas acrobatic shows, has filed for bankruptcy.

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