Photo: Associated Press
The agreement provides for a commitment of at least five years in order to maintain the headquarters of Cirque in Montreal.
The table is now set. The superior Court agreed on Friday the agreement between Cirque du Soleil and its secured creditors, an agreement which replaces the proposal put forward by the existing shareholders in June and that will be used to establish a minimum threshold in the context of the auction of the company.
Under the terms of the sales process and solicitation of investment, the other suitors interested parties have until July 27 to express their interest and sign a confidentiality agreement, and subsequently, until August 18 to file a formal offer for the Circus, which tries to restructure in order to ensure its recovery.
The decision authorizing the agreement between the Cirque and its creditors occurred Friday morning at a virtual hearing presided over by judge Louis J. Gouin, to which were attached many of the lawyers representing the various stakeholders.
With the acquisition of the assets of the Circus, the creditors intend to inject an amount of US $375 million. They also commit themselves to maintain the headquarters of the Circus in Quebec for at least five years and that the p.-d. g. lives in Quebec.
The hearing was an unforeseen detour when a lawyer called to represent creditors ‘”independent” second-row has asked the judge to extend by two weeks the period of auction, a reasonable way, he said, to improve the chances of getting a good deal.
A lawyer representing the Cirque du Soleil has countered that the time flies, an important factor in the extent to which the finances of the business are, after all, precarious. “The company objected vigorously to any request for an extension of the process “, said the lawyer of the Circus. The application has been finally rejected. “The train is running and I do not stop,” said the judge Gouin, according to which the process is implemented since weeks and that he would have had to occur in the planned timeframe.
Quebecor in the margin of the auction
In addition, Quebecor said on Thursday evening that it did ” not participate in the process of judicial auctions, which is now virtually completed “. “This decision comes on the eve of the hearing of the superior Court to rule on the offer of the creditors “, she said in a statement. The company, controlled by Pierre Karl Péladeau has had ” lengthy discussions with the Group Houlihan Lokey, the advisors of the creditors, before it is forced to end by the signing, at the request of the Cirque du Soleil, a confidentiality agreement “.
“In contrast, the direction of Quebecor wishes to emphasise that it is eager to contribute to a proposal for the revival of the Circus and thus make a profit, with the group of creditors, his experience and his capital and his quebec identity,” said the company. “The goal of Quebecor remains to ensure the sustainability of the Circus and the continuation of his artistic success in procuring him the means of his financial success. “
The co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberté, has expressed at the end of the month of may, its desire to participate in the revival of the organization, but has not made a public statement since. Mr. Laliberté is no longer a shareholder of the Circus. The current shareholders are the u.s. investor TPG (60 %), the chinese group Fosun (20 %) and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (20 %).
These three shareholders had proposed in June to inject 300 million people in the Circus, of which 200 million would come from a loan from Investissement Québec. The plan of the creditors, explained in a report by the controller, Ernst & Young, appointed by the Court, does not refer to this financial assistance of Québec.
By the time the pandemic has forced the Circus to suspend its performances in the month of march, the company was facing a debt of about one billion US$. The agreement between the Circus and the creditors, which includes the group Catalyst Capital, will result in a debt significantly reduced to $ 300 million.