Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil will sell a majority stake to private equity firm TPG Capital and Chinese firm Fosun, according to multiple media reports.
A spokesman for TPG would not comment on a possible sale and spokespeople for Cirque du Soleil and TPG did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Co-founder Guy Laliberté told staffers in an email Thursday that the sale of the company known for its dazzling acrobatic shows is still pending approval, according to CBC News.
The controlling stake in the company is expected to sell for $1.5 billion, Reuters reported and cited “sources close to the process.” Laliberté will maintain a position in the company.
TPG Capital has shown an interest in the entertainment space in recent years, buying equity stakes in CAA and newly launched studio, STX Entertainment. Fosun Group is the primary backer behind Jeff Robinov’s new media company Studio 8.
U.S. private equity group TPG and Chinese conglomerate Fosun are the new controlling shareholders of performance art group Cirque du Soleil, it was announced Monday.
TPG (formerly Texas Pacific Group) will become the majority owner, while Fosun takes a significant minority position, and together the firms will work with the company to launch and expand in China. Cirque du Soleil’s founder, Guy Laliberté, will maintain a stake in the business and will continue to provide strategic and creative input. Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec will also acquire a minority interest in the company, and Québec businessman Mitch Garber will become chairman of Cirque du Soleil.
“After 30 years building the Cirque du Soleil brand, we have now found the right partners in TPG, Fosun and the Caisse to take Cirque du Soleil forward to the next stage in its evolution as a company founded on the conviction that the arts and business, together, can contribute to making a better world,” said Laliberté. “Just as importantly, I am thrilled that the investors have demonstrated such a strong commitment to Cirque’s unique Québec cultural heritage and the creativity and imagination of our people.”
No financial terms of the transaction were disclosed. TPG, which has $67 billion under management, is privately held. Fosun, which has stakes in Club Mediterranee, Studio 8, and Bona Film Group, is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Fosun this week confirmed the creation of a China-based film production company, Fosun Pictures. It is expected to operate separately and in addition to Fosun’s institutional investment portfolio.