A consortium of stakeholders, including Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in Cirque du Soleil's sale transaction and emergence from creditor protection
November 24, 2020
1.50 Billion CAD
On November 24, 2020, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group announced the successful closing of a sale transaction with its secured lenders, and its emergence from creditor protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act ("CCAA") in Canada and Chapter 15 in the United States.
In March 2020, Cirque du Soleil suspended all of its shows worldwide due to COVID-19, resulting in the immediate cessation of its operations and revenues and in the temporary layoffs of 5000 employees. CDPQ held a participation of 20% in Cirque du Soleil. Along with the shareholders TPG/Fosun, it formed a consortium which made an interim loan of C$64 million, In June 2020, the consortium filed a stalking horse offer at the outset of the CCAA proceedings of Cirque du Soleil.
The stalking horse offer was valued at approximately C$538 million and included features such as an employees fund of C$19 million and a contractors fund of C$6.4 million to compensate employees/independent contractors affected by suspension of activities due to COVID-19.
The interim loan was ultimately reimbursed by an ad-hoc group of existing lienholders and the stalking horse offer was replaced by a “credit bid” including the same features as the ones in the consortium’s offer (including the employees-fund and the contractors-fund). The credit-bid offer was valued at approximately C$1.5 billion. The offer was ultimately converted into a “reverse-vesting order” which was issued by the Superior Court of Quebec on October 26, 2020, when the Court also issued the “employee-fund order” and the “contractors-fund order”.
Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As one of Canada's leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt.
Cirque du Soleil is a Montreal-based entertainment company and the largest contemporary circus producer in the world.
McCarthy Tétrault advised Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec with a team led by Patrick Boucher and Jocelyn Perreault that included the Honorable and former partner Philippe Bélanger (Bankruptcy and Restructuring), Camille Paquette, Chrystelle Chevalier-Gagnon and Marjolaine Hémond Hotte (Business), Christian Meighen, Marie-Soleil Landry and Nicolas Désy (Tax), Dominic Thérien and Jason Gudofsky (Competition), Mason Poplaw (Litigation) and Véronique Wattiez-Larose (Intellectual Property).