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Cirque du Soleil, Las Vegas Strip mainstay, filing for bankruptcy protection amid coronavirus

Cirque du Soleil announced Monday it is filing for bankruptcy protection as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rattle the world.

The entertainment group is working to "restructure its capital structure," according to a statement. Its application will be heard by the Superior Court of Quebec on Tuesday. Once given this initial order, it will file for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Cirque du Soleil is an institution on the Las Vegas Strip, with its pricey, mesmerizing shows high on visitors’ vacation agendas. The company had six shows operating in major Las Vegas casino hotels when coronavirus crushed travel and closed casinos for nearly three months: "O," "Zumanity,’" "The Beatles LOVE," "Ka," "Mystere," and "Michael Jackson ONE."

Major shows like Cirque have not reopened in Las Vegas under the state's reopening guidelines covering large crowds. Cirque shut down its shows in Las Vegas and across the world on March 14.

"From the very beginning of the new coronavirus outbreak, (Cirque du Soleil) took rigorous measures to protect its work teams and the public," a statement said at the time. "Our priority has always been, and remains, the health and safety of our artists, our partners, our employees and our audiences. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation to determine when shows will resume." 

People with tickets for canceled performances were set to be refunded within 30 days.

Along with the bankrupcy filing, the company has entered into a purchase agreement with its shareholders TPG, Fosun, and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, and Investissement Québec as a dept provider. These sponsors would acquire the company's assets. Per the agreement, the sponsors would inject $300 million of liquidity into a restructured business to support a restart, give relief to affected employees and partners, and pay for some the company's remaining liabilities (such as ticketholders needing refunds). Investissement Québec will give $200 million in debt financing.

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USA Today