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Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy protection as COVID-19 cancels shows

Cirque du Soleil also announced it's laid off approximately 3,480 employees who were previously furloughed in March.

MONTREAL, QC — Cirque du Soleil filed for creditor protection in Canada on Monday while it develops a plan to restart its business amid the pandemic.

The creator of many of the most popular shows in Las Vegas on Monday blamed the “immense disruption and forced show closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Montreal-based circus arts show company temporarily suspended its productions around the world in March because of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Cirque du Soleil also announced the termination of approximately 3,480 employees previously furloughed in March.

In connection with the filing, Cirque du Soleil said it has entered into a purchase agreement with its existing shareholders TPG, Fosun and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec as well as Investissement Quebec as a debt provider. Its said the sponsors’ bid includes an intent to rehire a substantial majority of the terminated employees, business conditions allowing, when its operations can resume.

The company added that given that its resident shows in Las Vegas and Orlando are expected to resume before the rest of the other shows, the artists and show staff of the resident shows division are not affected.

The Las Vegas shows that were cancelled included “O” at the Bellagio, “KA” at MGM Grand, “The Beatles LOVE” at the Mirage, “Mystere” at Treasure Island, “Zumanity” at New York-New York and “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay.

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Cirque du Soleil shows in Austin, Texas, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Montreal, Boston, Tel Aviv, Meloneras, Spain, Munich, Costa Mesa, California, Denver, and the Australian cities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth were also cancelled.

Credit: AP
A performer balances on a ball during a preview of the Cirque Du Soleil production of "Kurios - Cabinet of Curiosities" in Sydney, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.