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Cirque du Soleil files for creditor protection in Canada

Last Updated Jun 29, 2020 at 4:30 pm EDT

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2012, file photo, members of the cast from The Beatles "LOVE" by Cirque du Soleil perform at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala honoring Paul McCartney in Los Angeles. Cirque du Soleil, creator of many of the most popular shows in Las Vegas, said Saturday, March 14, 2020, that it is temporarily suspending its productions in Las Vegas as well as around the world because of the new coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

MONTREAL — 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. It is 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.